In 2022, almost 40 million tickets were checked in on public transport across South Tyrol. Only three years earlier, that figure amounted to 54.3 million. Here’s why.
The reopening of the Venosta/Vinschgau valley railway line in May 2005 marked the start of the first mobility shift in South Tyrol: Taking the train suddenly became popular again, and a systematic expansion of rail and bus services throughout South Tyrol followed. The Cadenzamento Alto Adige/Südtirol Takt plan and the launch of the Südtirol Pass ticket caused passenger numbers on public transport to soar and peak in 2018 and 2019 – until the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns put an abrupt end to all of it.
With the Covid19 pandemic all but over, smart and remote working is here to stay: As many people continue making use of the chance to work from home on selected days, they make fewer trips to the office or workplace. This development is of course reflected in passenger numbers: In local rail traffic, 7.7 million check-ins were recorded last year; before “Corona”, that figure amounted to 10 million. In the Venosta/Vinschgau valley, several closures required for the electrification works on the railway line had an impact on passenger statistics, too. And due to infrastructure-related technical defects, last year there were also an unusual number of cancellations on the Pusteria/Pustertal valley train line.
The Renon/Ritten cable-car and light railway as well as the Mendola/Mendel funicular on the other hand saw almost no change in passenger numbers, remaining steady at nearly 2 million check-ins.
Buses in the process of being refitted
Passenger statistics on buses, too, are down: 2022 saw 29.5 million check-ins compared with 42.2 million in 2019 – but at present, those numbers are not very robust. One main reason is that buses throughout South Tyrol are currently being equipped with new ticketing and information system technology: With the long-serving blue ticket validation machines now discontinued and no longer being produced, they are also no longer available for the latest generations of buses. In the coming months, all vehicles will therefore be equipped with new devices, which will in turn lead to fairly reliable passenger figures once more.
Some inconsistencies will however remain: Children under the age of 6 years will still not need a ticket, and online tickets will generally only have to be checked in once, even if they are used for several journeys or for a longer period of time.