Implementation of COVID-19 measures in railway operation in the Slovak Republic
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Rail transport has a crucial role to play not only in the EU’s strategy for a sustainable transport sector, but also in terms of economic and social cohesion. It contributes significantly to the mix of transport modes in the EU, while providing clean mobility and a high degree of efficiency. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of passenger and freight rail transport has fallen sharply due to constraints and lower demand for transport. Several players in the rail market had to close down. Rail operators had to face a sharp decline in transport services. In 2020, the demand for passenger transport was significantly lower than in the previous year. Thus, railway undertakings were not able to pay the charges for access to the railway infrastructure during the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Infrastructure managers had the opportunity to temporarily reduce, waive or defer these charges. The negative economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic could reduce or significantly endanger their financial viability for market stakeholders. Reducing charges for access to railway infrastructure is just one of the few measures that will help railway undertakings to function better. The paper focuses on the analysis of the impact of the pandemic and the implemented measures on the passenger rail sector in the Slovak Republic and on the development of rail passenger and freight transport during the pandemic. It summarizes the proposed measures against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in rail transport in Slovakia.
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