Thinking Ahead |How to relaunch passenger mobility after COVID-19 emergency

The COVID-19 impact on the transport system is vast, due to the severe lockdown measures undertaken to reduce the risk of virus spreading

Providing that the combination of good crisis management and governmental support will keep the transport industry alive in the short term, it is imperative to start designing longer term strategies for the sector.

The management of the emergency period is a major challenge for passenger transport operators, with a variety of new issues to be handled in a very short time, heavy pressure on finance, as well as growing concern of customers and employees about the safety of the transport system. 

Combination of good crisis management and governmental support will be needed to keep the transport industry alive in the short term, but it is also imperative to start designing longer term strategies for the sector.
In the first place, it is worth examining how such situation could modify customers' behavior in the medium / long term.

Advanced customer survey techniques will be required to understand the level and duration (temporary or permanent) of such changes. In parallel with such “understanding” phase, operators urgently need to plan for a number of concrete actions, to ensure a progressive and efficient resuming of the operations, as well as restore people’s trust and willingness to travel.

Post - emergency actions

  • Properly evaluate, trace and document damages suffered (short- & medium-term additional costs and lost revenues) in order to be able to claim for governmental support, where available (in some cases such support measures will be implemented only after the peak of the emergency or after it).
  • Take this opportunity to launch appropriate cost optimization in underperforming activities, as well as a review of business development strategies planned before Covid.
  • Assess and exploit the possible “advantageous” reduction of demand lasting in the long run, e.g. lower traffic in peak hours thanks to remote working replacing commuting, by properly re-design the network capacity after the emergency (and investment plans accordingly).

Post - emergency actions

  • Develop well-structured business continuity plans to be better prepared in case of future adverse situations, with specific views on the different type of events (such as natural disasters, pandemic diseases, or terrorist attacks)
  • Implement substantial digitalization enabling better demand monitoring and more flexible operation management under exceptional circumstances

Post - emergency actions

Build trust on the transport system, making it permanently safer for both passengers and workers through both specific investments (e.g. equipment allowing digital health checks in transport hubs, wearable devices monitoring distances between employees and between them and passengers etc.) and improved operating procedure.

Apply advanced precision marketing techniques to manage information to clients, and effectively stimulate restart of traveling.

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Paolo Guglielminetti

Paolo Guglielminetti

Partner | Global railways and roads Leader, PwC Italy

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