Public Transport Wi-Fi Data Shows Rate of Recovery as COVID-19 Restrictions are Lifted


Icomera, a subsidiary of ENGIE Solutions, is the world’s leading provider of mobile Internet connectivity for public transport. ENGIE Solutions is part of ENGIE, a leading group involved in the transition over to a zero-carbon world.


10th June 2020 - Icomera Passenger Wi-Fi usage levels from 30,000+ trains, trams, buses and coaches across Europe and North America have been combined to measure public transport’s rate of recovery as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

As expected, all regions saw a dramatic drop-off in weekly Passenger Wi-Fi usage through March - tracked as a percentage of usage levels in the corresponding weeks in 2019 - reaching their respective low points between late March and late April.  While all regions have clearly felt the impact, the session volume data illustrates that some fell further than others, and the subsequent recovery rates do vary.

  • In Eastern Europe, Passenger Wi-Fi usage has currently made a +54 percentage point recovery from its lowest point (4%), to now sit at 58% of its 2019 levels
  • Western Europe has made an 30p.p. recovery to 43%
  • Northern Europe (excluding the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland) is up 14p.p. to 28%
  • North America is up 12p.p. to 18%
  • The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are up 5p.p. to 12%
  • Southern Europe is up 9p.p to 11%

Eastern Europe has experienced a positive step change in recent weeks, with many restrictions in the region being lifted during the weeks of May 25th and June 1st. Western Europe is also showing a gradual recovery from a comparatively less impacted position.

Northern and Western Europe currently appear to be experiencing the strongest recovery, and from comparatively less impacted positions. Many other regions are only now seeing the Passenger Wi-Fi usage levels that Northern and Western Europe saw at their lowest points.

The  United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are experiencing the slowest return of any region but are currently in a stronger position than Southern Europe, who experienced the toughest lockdowns of any region and the greatest reduction in Passenger Wi-Fi usage.

Public transport has undoubtedly been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will have to overcome many challenges on its journey back to pre-COVID usage levels and, beyond that, to resume the zero-carbon transition - shifting society’s travel habits back towards sustainable, green mobility.

Icomera’s CEO Magnus Friberg said: “The industry has to restore passenger confidence. We’re seeing a new focus for passenger information channels - such as Wi-Fi portals - communicating the onboard safety measures in place, or providing real-time updates on service timetables and passenger loads.

“Operators are also trialling systems that mitigate the risks, such as thermal imaging cameras, face mask detection systems, and ultraviolet (UVC) disinfection lights. The value of being able to reliably and securely transmit the data that all these systems generate and utilise, to and from the vehicle in real-time, cannot be overstated. Fast and appropriate responses based on this data will be essential for protecting passengers and controlling the spread of the virus.

“As part of ENGIE Solutions, we have the experience to deliver and support this technology locally in territories around the globe, with people on the ground alongside our clients’ teams. Backed by cloud-based tools designed specifically for public transport applications, and a Network Operations Centre providing 24/7/365 reactive and proactive monitoring and support, Icomera is ready to take a leading role in the industry’s Internet-enabled recovery plan.  We believe the road back from COVID-19 will be a Connected Journey.”