The car continues to be the dominant means of transport across Europe, with the corresponding percentage in Cyprus just below the EU average, according to data released on Tuesday by Eurostat on the occasion of European Mobility Week, which lasts from September 16 to 22.
The study compared journeys made by car, train, bus and coach, plane or boat, and measured them by passenger-kilometres (pkm) which represent the transport of one passenger by a defined mode of transport over one kilometre.
In 2021, transport by car in Cyprus accounted for 76.3 per cent of passenger-kilometres travelled, coming very close the EU average of 79.7 per cent. The rest was 12.6 per cent for planes (7.3 per cent in the EU), and 11.1 per cent for coaches, buses or trolley buses (7.1 per cent in the EU).
Cyprus recorded 0 per cent when it came to sea transport (0.3 per cent in the EU), while train transport, which does not exist in Cyprus, amounted for 5.6 per cent for the EU.
The share of passenger-kilometres by passenger car in the total transport performance by all modes in the EU was 73.1 per cent in 2011 and recorded small deviations around this figure until 2019.
In 2020, the figure increased to 81.9 per cent, but this does not represent an actual increase in the number of passenger-kilometres by car, rather reflecting the strong decrease in air transport due to the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on transportation.
Meanwhile, in Cyprus there was a gradual reduction in the share of passenger cars in total transport by all modes from 2011, when it stood at 69.4 per cent, to 59.9 per cent in 2019.
However, it was pointed out that the data does not show a corresponding increase in the share of public transport, since the reduction of the share of passenger cars is connected to the gradual increase of the use of air transportation.
Therefore in 2020, during the pandemic, the share of the use of passenger cars increased to 79.4 per cent, while the share of air travel dropped from 26.5 in 2019 to 9.1 per cent, and decreased slightly in 2021 to 76.3 per cent, while air travel increased to 12.6 per cent.
In the decade between 2011 and 2021, the use of public transport decreased both in Cyprus and the EU as a whole, with the share of coaches, buses and trolley buses dropping from 15.5 per cent to 11.1 per cent in Cyprus, and from 9.0 to 7.1 per cent EU-wide.
The EU also saw a decrease in the share of trains, from 6.6 to 5.6 per cent.
In the same decade, the share of air passenger-kilometres saw a gradual increase from 15.1 to 26.5 per cent in Cyprus, and from 10.9 to 15 per cent across the EU.
The pandemic significantly impacted the sector in 2020, bringing its share down to the lowest point in the decade: 9.1 per cent in Cyprus and 5.7 per cent in the EU. In 2021, the share recovered to 12.6 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively.
Among the EU member states, in 2021, transport by car had the highest share in the total transport performance in Lithuania (91.7 per cent), followed by the Netherlands (85.4 per cent) and Finland (85.2 per cent).
In terms of air transport, Croatia registered the highest share (25.4 per cent) of air passenger-kilometres in the total performance by all transport modes, followed by Bulgaria (16.3 per cent) and Spain (13.1 per cent).
For coaches, buses and trolley buses, Malta had the highest share (13.3 per cent), with Hungary (12.8 per cent) and Ireland (12.4 per cent) coming next on the 2021 top list.
As for rail transport, Austria continues to be the top performer with the highest share (8.6 per cent) of rail passenger-kilometres in the total transport performance, followed by France (8.3 per cent) and the Netherlands (8.0 per cent).
When it comes to sea transport, the highest shares of passenger-kilometres by sea vessel were registered in Croatia (2.7 per cent), Greece (1.6 per cent) and Estonia (1.5 per cent).