Saudi Arabia’s early measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 led to a drop in rail demand by 60% last year to 0.7 million passengers in 2020, compared with 1.8 million passengers in 2019, according to a recent Data Insight published by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC).
The researcher Abdulrahman Alwosheel, a senior research analyst in the Transport and Urban Infrastructure program at KAPSARC, mentioned that rail passenger demand in the Kingdom has increased by 8% per year over the past six years, from 1.25 million passengers to around 1.8 million in 2019.
Alwosheel explained that COVID-19 impacted the number of rail trips per year, as it fell by 45% in 2020 year-on-year. It reached 5.7 thousand trips in 2019, while it decreased to 3.2 thousand trips only in 2020.
KAPSARC’s Data Insight shows that adults comprise 70% of total rail passengers, followed by students (14%) and children (13%). The researcher noted that only 1% of the users have disabilities, pointing out the need to investigate the obstacles of accessing the stations on the Riyadh-Dammam line in order to increase their rail use.
It is worth noting that the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) operates a network of approximately 1,400 kilometers (km). This network links the Eastern Province with Riyadh, where more than 40% of the country’s population and economic activities are located. A passenger line connects Riyadh with Dammam through Alhassa and Abqaiq.
Data Insights explain and show the latest numbers and changes in statistics in topics related to energy, economics, and environment. They encourage users to use the KAPSARC open-data portal, which includes links to download all the tools and data that reflect the Center’s view as a resource institution for energy data.
KAPSARC Energy Data Portal sought to keep up with COVID-19 by launching a specialized database that included more than 243 thousand records of data, in order to monitor and control the pandemic’s situation in the Kingdom. The number of models and tools related to energy economics and designed by the Center within the last five years has reached more than 1,500 databases in 16 topics, used by more than 30 countries, and the information is drawn from more than 230 sources.
Moreover, the portal managed to attract more than 2.5 million searches from more than 200 countries last year. There were over 260 thousand downloads and 10 million views. It also provided more than 80 million records of data.
This article originally appeared on Saudi Gazette