After the outbreak of the spring virus and the restrictions on work and travel imposed across the country, the number of passengers in both public transport and long-distance train traffic decreased. In some areas, the dropout rate is as high as 90%. The restrictions and curtailment of travel made it very difficult for train companies and authorities to anticipate what congestion and travel patterns would look like, but the recommendation was still to keep traffic as regular as possible.
As part of the work to reduce the spread of infection and congestion, ticket controls on public transport have been temporarily lifted, resulting in increased fraud and the number of passengers without a valid ticket such as an avalanche.
To understand the consequences for public transportation, we arranged a meeting with Ellen Camby, Business District Manager for Transportation at ISS, who is in charge of, among other things, controlling SL tickets in Stockholm.
Public transport in Sweden costs about SEK 1 billion a month to continue, and nearly half of it is funded through ticket sales. When we get fewer passengers, ticket revenues also decrease, but what we’ve seen during the pandemic is that in addition to decreasing travel, willingness to pay also decreases among those who have already used public transportation. What we risk next in the long run is that the ticketing and financing model needs to change, and instead public transportation costs and thus possibly supply should be reduced. Total public transportation is expected to incur a loss of about 7.5 billion this year alone, and if we are to enjoy the same level that we are used to, financing must be secured, even if it is under different conditions and with other ticket models.
It is important to secure income and create security
– Our uniformed employees who move on public transport contribute to creating security for passengers, which has continued during the Corona pandemic, but with an increased focus on avoiding and reporting crowding. Now we’re gradually starting ticket checks in Stockholm again in line with SL guidelines, Elin continues.
When asked why controls are needed at all right now, Eileen explained that SL estimates that cheating during the pandemic has risen from three to 15 per cent, which corresponds to revenues of around SEK 1,350 million so that we can continue to travel in a safe manner. And safe and sustainable by means of public transportation, revenues must be secured.
There is also a link between economic growth and improved public transportation, especially in urban areas. In a report by the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California, Stockholm was ranked the third best city in the world for public transportation at the same time that Sweden was praised for its entire rail network.
I hope that we can continue on the path we set and further improve mobility so that we can deal with the ever-increasing population density in our urban areas. Eileen stresses that investing in public transportation and new research is a must.
Safe environment on trains
UITP, Union Internationale des Transports Publics, released a report in October showing that the risk of injury on public transport is minimal if the right measures are taken. Some of the key factors, when traveling, are good ventilation, disinfection of touch surfaces, short travel time, minimal conversations and social distance. Studies have been conducted in many countries in the world and the report shows that even if the risk cannot be completely eliminated, public transportation is still the safest way to travel around cities. This is at the same time that urban areas continue to work for those who need to travel.
The area where the International Space Station may have made the biggest difference to public transportation under the shadow of Corona is hygiene and cleanliness. Lev Pearson is the Director of Product and Development for Cleaning Services at ISS.
We have always worked very carefully and have a very good view of the importance of a healthy environment for health. With the pandemic, travelers have also opened their eyes to the work we’re already doing, knowing they can feel confident that trains, and communication areas in particular, are clean.
Lev notes that the authorities’ recommendations during a pandemic are something you should take with you even under normal circumstances.
Therefore, I am convinced that this will ultimately transform the ways we travel and live, with an ongoing focus on hygiene. For us as a service provider, this means we regularly review the cleaning systems and products we use, and in some cases also increase the frequency of cleaning, says Lev.
Measurable purity with an emphasis on the environment
Today, the ISS cleanup operations and tools have become very detailed. Cleaning Excellence is an international concept within ISS that brings together the best of processes, methods, tools, and products. Along with cleaning product and cleaning machine suppliers, we are also constantly developing methods while minimizing the environmental impact,
For example, shortly after the outbreak of Corona, we began conducting disinfection to defeat viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms with environmentally friendly gadgets and environmentally friendly ozone water. Ozone water is stronger than chlorine, but it’s as gentle as regular tap water so we can disinfect all kinds of surfaces and things in a simple, safe and cost-effective way, completely without chemicals that are dangerous to the environment, says Lev.
Test results show that the presence of bacteria and viruses is reduced by about 99% within 5 minutes after cleaning. In many offices, the International Space Station has also begun to measure the concentration of microorganisms and, accordingly, the level of hygiene on surfaces in offices. Through this, those who work in offices can feel confident that hygiene and the risk of infection are always under control.
Currently, we’re studying how we can effectively make similar measurements on board vehicles so that passengers feel more secure during the journey, says Lev.
Vehicle cleaning service is designed to reduce the risk of infection and is performed by certified ISS personnel. By measuring the purity, we learn if the cleaning frequencies or methods need to be adjusted. It may sound excessive, but in the end it’s all about our service personnel creating a safe environment for everyone who needs to stay there, Eileen concludes.
Facts about the ISS
ISS is a leader in facilities management and workplace experience. We create places and environments that contribute to better performance and a simpler, more efficient and enjoyable life – served with care and high quality by committed employees. The ISS has more than 400,000 employees worldwide and has a presence in more than 70 countries. In Sweden, the ISS employs around 6,000 employees nationwide.
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