How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact traveler behavior toward public transport? The case of Athens, Greece

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - modelling, ridership - perceptions, planning - personal safety/crime, planning - promotion, planning - methods


COVID-19, Public transport, Traveler behavior, Discrete duration model, Cluster analysis, Travelers groups


The COVID-19 outbreak led to significant changes in daily commuting. As lockdowns were imposed to metropolitan areas throughout the globe, travelers refrained heavily from using public transport, to maintain social distancing. Based on data from Athens, Greece, this paper investigates the anticipated, post-pandemic behavior of travelers with respect to public transport use. Focus is given on analyzing those factors that affect post-pandemic recovery time of public transport users, i.e. the time travelers would refrain from using public transport, following a gradual exit from the pandemic outbreak and relaxation of lockdowns. The analysis is performed using both a clustering algorithm and a discrete duration model. Both methodologies highlighted the fact that the frequency of using public transport before the pandemic along with the travelers’ age, influence their behavior in terms of recovery time. Results from the discrete duration model suggest also that self-employed and travelers who mostly use private vehicles, are less likely to use public transport after the outbreak. Concerning the psychological factors that shape COVID-19 safety-related perceptions that affect public transport use, travelers who would be willing to use protection gear when traveling with are also less likely to return to public transport. Findings of this study could be useful for policy making, suggesting that efficient marketing strategies toward promoting public transport usage in a post-pandemic era should focus on travelers with specific socio-demographic and travel characteristics.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.