Urban Transport

Black year in rail transport


Deep impacts of Covid-19 which started affecting life in March in Turkey can be seen in rail transport statistics.

Covid-19 has huge effects on mass transport, as in all other things in our life. Istanbul has become the first Turkish city to publish the transport statistics in detail. Ridership of metro and trams in Istanbul has dropped by 68%, from 704 mn in 2019 to 222 mn in 2020.

Ridership of metro and trams in Istanbul 2006-2020 (million pax)

The development of Covid-19 and results of precautions can be followed easily on monthly statistics of busiest metro line of Istanbul (M2). First case was announced in March, restrictions started in early April, normalization started by the end of May, restrictions went effective again in early November and tightened in early December.

Ridership of M2 metro line 2020

Graph of daily ridership of rail transport in Ankara shows also similar results:

Daily ridership in Ankara metros, Ankaray and Baskentray in 2020

2020 was so hard for metro/tram management offices. As ridership dropped, the income as well, but not the expenses. Metros and trams continued to run even during lockdowns. The financial impact of Covid-19 is expected to be more than 500 mn TL only for Istanbul metros.

The impacts of Covid-19 is expected to be even more for rail transport. Main line and regional trains, which carried about 18 mn passengers in 2019, has not been running since March. HSTs, which carried over 8 mn passengers in 2019, had started service again, but are giving limited service. The drop in ridership of passenger trains may reach upto 80%.

Cover photo: Izmir Metropolitan Municipality ©

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