The Community of Metros launched COVID-19 microstudies on topic of immediate interest to metros during the pandemic. The Service Level During COVID-19 Microstudy reviewed the change of service levels operated by metros. Reductions in peak and off-peak train frequencies were the most common service change. On average, the lowest service operated during the pandemic was 62% of pre-COVID-19 levels, and over half of metros had returned to full service by the end of September 2020.
The study discussed key factors influencing decision about service levels and strategies for the future to inform service level responses going forward. COVID-19 has forced metros to flexibly adapt service levels in response to government policy, changing travel patterns, staff availability, etc. As demand uncertainty continues, flexibility remains key, requiring ongoing and thorough contingency planning work.