Covid-19 and Personal Transport

Posted

July 9, 2020

Authors
Max Pusa
Series

Max Z

Covid-19 struck unexpectedly struck China in January, and spreaded all over the world in the following months. Soon world economies were overrun with worldwide travel bans, lockdowns and bankruptcies. Many peoples’ lives came to a total standstill, and some were able to enjoy it more than others. In the worst case, people lost their jobs and maybe loved ones to Covid-19. On the flip side, many probably got the first chance in their lives to really stop and “live in the moment”, so to speak. They withdrawed to their cottages, spent time with their families and finally had the time to do or learn something they had wanted to do for a long time.

Many companies that benefitted from the pandemic, such as delivery companies and companies in the health industry, were forced to develop their customer service, delivery methods and web services. Many of these topics are already widely discussed but the one I wanted to touch up on, is what Covid-19 did to transportation habits all around the world.

Our planet really needed the break

First, I’d like to mention, that the greatest effect that Covid had to commuting was that there was nearly none. Secondly, it’s completely understandable that Covid-19 thoroughly changed the way many people commute. One of my acquaintance sold his car because like many others, he had the chance to remote work, meaning there was no more need to commute every day. I personally know people who had to give up their car because they couldn’t afford it anymore after losing their jobs. Other people made the choice of letting go of their car voluntarily. Just here in Finland, there was a large spike in pausing of car insurances. Tens of thousands of car insurances were paused weekly compared to last fall. On the other hand, there was a huge need for personal transportation, since public transportation wasn’t considered safe. When Covid really hit, it was fortunately already spring in many parts of Europe. That meant better weather, and other possibilities in commuting. For example, The E-bike market saw a huge boom (and it was already trending), fast-tracking E-bike and city bike infrastructure by many years in just a few months.

Empty streets and tram carts in Helsinki in April

When the planes and cars stopped moving and many factories had to suspend their production, our planet finally got a little break. The air hasn’t been this clean in major cities like Hong Kong or Los Angeles in a long time. There has been many viral posts in social media featuring sceneries from these cities that weren’t visible yet in fall 2019 because of the pollution.

Clean air above Seoul

Commuting won’t be the same after Covid-19

After implementing the remote work -policies in many companies around the world, I don’t think they are necessarily going back anytime soon. After realizing companies can save money in the rent of office spaces and employees time every day not making them commute every single day, why’d they go back? I believe many found alternative ways to fill their personal transport needs during Covid when they didn’t necessarily have access to a car. One of the effects will definitely be, that public transport will take a hit. People will probably be scared of cramped public spaces for at least a while. I hope that the pollution problem wouldn’t get as bad as it was before when lockdowns are being lifted and we are getting back to a new normal.

About the authors

Max Pusa

A normal 18-year-old teenager from Espoo, Finland who's currently attending the last year of high school. He’s always been a car and a motorcycle enthusiast. He's had his driver’s license for a little more than a year now and driven over forty thousand kilometers in the past year. One of his favorite hobbies is riding a motorcycle and playing different sports with his friends.

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