Eighty city transport leaders and manufacturers have signed an open letter that calls upon European institutions to prioritise urban transport in the economic recovery programme from the COVID-19 crisis.
The letter, sent on 13 May to the Presidents of the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament, uses new data from UITP that suggests a EUR40bn shortfall in operator revenues by the end of 2020 as a result of pandemic travel restrictions and safety measures. UITP says that to limit the consequences of the crisis – farebox revenues may not recover for two years, it suggests – exceptional measures need to be adopted at EU level and deployed rapidly, saying: “It is evident that receiving not more than 10% of ticket revenues while maintaining up to 100% of the service is not financially sustainable.”
“Public transport is essential to reduce traffic congestion, which costs the European economy 1% of GDP, EUR100bn per year. According to statistics from Germany, if all German public transport users were to go by
car, an additional 86.5bn car-kilometres would be shifted onto the roads.
“Urban and local public transport services in Europe contribute between EUR130-150bn per year to the economy. This is 1-1.2% of the GDP.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that urban public transport is essential and a common good we have to preserve. The sector is strongly inter-linked with many other sectors and develops economic benefits that are five times higher than its own turnover.
“Moreover, the crucial objectives of the Green Deal will not be met without a clear priority given to public transport. Consequently, public transport and local mobility systems are vital to the recovery of the European economy, both in the short and long term.”