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Councilor Alarcón speaking at the press conference, Source: Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona

Things are back on track to normality

Things are back on track to normality

At least, as far as Barcelona’s public transport is concerned

The past 12 months have uprooted many things we took for granted. For example, taking the bus or the subway without giving it a second thought. The arrival of the pandemic, however, made many anxious about confined and crowded places and to top things off there were plentiful social restrictions.

Rosa Alarcón, the Barcelona Councilor of Mobility and President of the local public transport operator TMB, however, held a press conference on 9 April to bring the “very good news” that the situation is finally reversing. Her optimism was caused by statistics which reportedly showed that for the first time since March 2020 the number of trips on public transport exceeded the number of trips by private transport during working days.

That is a good trend that shows adjustment and adaptation to the new reality

Initially, during the first wave, all modes of mobility across the board fell sharply for the obvious reasons that the imposed lockdowns caused. Later on, life and mobility started recovering gradually and people felt safer using their own cars or other vehicles in order to keep social distancing.

And while transport numbers are still lower than pre-pandemic levels, at least the surveys show that in March of 2021 slightly more than 1.5 million daily public transit trips were taken compared to slightly more than the 1.4 million private vehicle ones.

Users are gradually regaining confidence in public transport as a safe, efficient and sustainable system,” stated Councillor Alarcón upon presenting the numbers.

In her opinion, this, in no small part, is thanks to the very concerted effort on part of TMB to implement a large array of safety measures and to adapt to the new situation as best as possible. Since the beginning of the pandemic, in fact, more than 140 such measures had been implemented. These range from disinfection and regular cleaning of vehicles and premises to ventilation upgrades, signalling, digital information and awareness-raising campaigns.

That same day she also unveiled a new campaign with the motto ‘A safe journey’.

The whole of the metropolitan public transport system and the country are demonstrating with specific facts —and this campaign that we present today is one of them— that users can fully trust, with the certainty that it is the safest but also the most efficient, equitable and sustainable system that we have [which allows us], collectively, to move,” concluded the TMB President.

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