Long-distance passenger services were hit particularly hard, falling by 42.1% to 67.5 million passengers in 2020. Commuter passenger numbers fell by 25.8% to 801.9 million for the year. 

Passenger turnovers on the RZD network also shrank to 78 billion passenger-km in 2020, a fall of 41.5% compared with 2019.   

Long-distance services were again impacted most, suffering a fall in passenger turnover of 46.2% compared with 2019, to 53.3 billion passenger-km. Commuter service passenger turnover fell to 24.7 billion pass-km, a decline of 28%. 

The reduction in passenger numbers and passenger turnover continued until the end of the year, with RZD reporting 71.2 million passengers on its network in December 2020, 28.9% lower than the same month in the previous year. Passenger numbers in December of last year amounted to 5.5 billion passenger-km, a year-on-year decline compared with December 2019. 

Despite reduced demand for passenger services, RZD has reported growing demand for freight across its network, with intermodal rail freight flows on its China-Europe routes regularly exceeding 2019 volumes. Mr Oleg Belozerov, the head of RZD, has predicted that freight volumes will continue to grow throughout this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic.