People in France travelling far more this lockdown than last

Transport data shows that the use of roads, public transport, trains, and scooters now is considerably higher than during the first lockdown

8 November 2020
By Hannah Thompson

People in France are travelling, driving, taking the train and using public transport considerably more during this second lockdown than they did during the first - especially in Paris - transport data suggests.

Figures from several transport networks across the country suggest that the public has been moving around two to three times more during the second confinement from October 30, than during the first from March.

Transport apps

Driving app Waze reported a 30% drop in distances covered by users on Tuesday November 3, compared to a 80-90% drop seen during the first lockdown.

According to Apple Maps, on Wednesday November 4, requests for car journey itineraries were down 38%, down 45% for public transport, and 55% for walking.

During the first lockdown, requests dropped by 80% for car journeys and more than 80% for walking.

Motorways and roads in Paris

In Paris, motorways and road usage is down 30%, compared to 80% during the first confinement, said motorway authority La Société des autoroutes du nord et de l’est de la France (Sanef) - the only authority to release its data so far.

In Paris itself, deputy mayor in charge of transport, David Belliard, said there had been a 29% drop in traffic, but that “this was far from the drop in traffic we saw during the first confinement (-70% for that period)”.

Public transport

Also in Ile-de-France use of public transport has dropped by 50% compared to its use in mid-October, and by 30% compared to pre-Covid numbers. There are very few passengers at night.

Public transport across the country has seen an average drop of 40% users.

This is still far more than seen during the first confinement, when public transport use was at just 5-10% of normal figures.

Trains and TGVs

Regional train use (TER) is down by a third, with peaks in the morning and evening, but empty trains during the day and at night. Yet, traffic was at just 2.5% in the last lockdown.

Use of TGVs has dropped to 15%, compared to 50% in October, and traffic is continuing to drop to 10%, SNCF said.

This is compared to during the first confinement, when traffic sometimes dropped to as low as 1%.

Read more: France lockdown: Three-quarters of TGV trains to be cut

 

Paris exodus

But while ahead of the last confinement Parisians left the city in their droves, the fact that schools and more services are staying open this time around has meant fewer residents have left the capital.

Stéphane Richard, CEO of phone network Orange, said: “We are seeing a third of people...in the case of Paris, 400,000 Parisians left the town [in March], but there were 150,000 this time.”

Read more: French city-dwellers fleeing lockdown ‘spread virus’

Bikes and scooters

The use of services such as Vélib’ and Lime have “dropped significantly” by 25-50%, “but we are still at a level four to five times’ higher than in March”, said director general of mobility data aggregator Fluctuo, Julien Chamussy.

In Paris, bike hire firm Vélib’ recorded 25% fewer journeys, with 90,000 journeys per day since the beginning of the week, compared to 120,000 at the end of October. This compares to 20,000 journeys seen during the first lockdown.

Scooter hire companies Lime, Dott and Tier have also seen a drop in usage, of around 40%, with 10,000-12,000 journeys this week, compared to 18,000-20,000 during a normal week. This compares to the first lockdown, however, when Lime and Tier were forced to pause operations completely due to a lack of demand.

Related stories

France second lockdown: What travel is allowed?

Some TGVs to be cancelled in France due to lack of demand

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