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Taiwan MRT passengers down over 50% since start of coronavirus outbreak

Apple's mobility trends show more people staying home, driving instead of taking public transit

Taipei MRT.

Taipei MRT. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread worldwide and lockdowns are extended, an Apple mobility trends report shows a dramatic drop in the number of people taking public transportation worldwide, including in Taipei.

The mobility data reflect the impact of the virus on the daily lives of Apple users across 131 countries and regions, showing them to have spent more time at home in the three months since mid-January, near the beginning of the outbreak. When they do have to go out, driving or walking is their first choice instead of taking public transit, the data reveal.

Apple pointed out that the information is generated by counting the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions. The data sets are then compared to reflect a change in the volume of people driving, walking, or taking public transit around the world.

According to the data, Italy, which on March 9 became the first European country to implement a nationwide lockdown, recorded a 90 percent decrease in drivers in April as well as 94 percent and 95 percent reductions in those who walk and take public transit, respectively, compared to a month earlier.

Meanwhile, in New York, which is under a near-lockdown as the U.S. state hit hardest by the pandemic, recorded a 64 percent decline in drivers, an 81 percent drop in pedestrians, and an 87 percent fall in metro passengers.

In Taipei, where business is carrying on almost as usual aside from mask and hygiene requirements and an advised social distance of 1.5 m indoors and 1 m outdoors, saw merely a 25 percent decline in drivers, 40 percent fewer walkers, and 52 percent fewer people taking the MRT during the same period.
Taiwan MRT passengers down over 50% since start of coronavirus outbreak

Also, the data shows that Taiwanese users paid 22 percent fewer visits to retailers and leisure venues, and 9 percent fewer to offices, suggesting a possible up to 10 percent of the employed working from home.

Earlier this month, Google issued a COVID-19 Community Mobility reports, which indicates that Taiwanese users paid 18 percent fewer visits to retailers and recreation on April 11 from a month earlier, including places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries and movie theaters. Grocery and pharmacy remained flat.

Taiwan MRT passengers down over 50% since start of coronavirus outbreak
(COVID-19 Community Mobility reports screengrab)