Cities for People: Public Transport for Better Lives

Friday, 19 February, 2021

Cities for People: Public Transport for Better Lives

Public transport brings people together and equal opportunities to all citizens, as the accessible and affordable option to ensure access to public services. It plays a crucial role in local development, offering mobility to all and maintaining territorial and social cohesion, leaving no one and no place behind after the crisis

by International Association of Public Transport (UITP) | May 2020


The crisis generated by Covid-19 has had a major impact on public transport systems across many regions of the world. Public and private sector stakeholders have adopted all the necessary measures to guarantee service continuity, ensuring the mobility of essential front-line workers.

Existing services have been kept running or new ones put in place so that people who cannot stay home and must travel have an adequate mobility alternative. Supply has been adapted to the newly required distancing measures, face masks have been mandated across most cities and station and vehicle cleaning has been scaled up with no regard to the extra costs. All this has been done while protecting workers and customers.

However, the health situation has powered a widespread and unsustainable fall in public transport ridership and associated farebox revenues of close to 90%, despite supply far outstripping demand since the crisis began, and is now literally fighting to survive. Ride-hailers have also experienced declines of up to 70%, and many micro-mobility and carpooling enterprises have suspended services.

With a progressive resumption of activities after lockdown, it is imperative to step in with exceptional measures or the system will collapse. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 305 million jobs are expected to be lost worldwide by mid-year, including losses in the transport sector (public and private transport operators, subcontractors, industry, new mobility providers...).

Climate, health, social inclusion, road safety, and the economy are all under attack and public transport, driven by innovation and service quality, is a vital part of the solution.

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