Public transport, in combination with active and micro mobility, is already the most climate friendly and cost-effective way to travel. But even then, the climate crisis is a shared responsibility and demands that we all do more. And the sector is stepping up.
Public transport is committed to contribute to the ambitious climate goals our cities need. We are working intensely and investing heavily to decarbonise our operations. The share of electric buses in Europe, for example, grew from 12% in 2019 to 23% in 2021.
Our industries are transitioning to renewable energy, which is the subject of a recent report from UITP. The report contains a set of actions that policy makers and organisations can take in the transition to renewable energy. One way to achieve this is by acquiring new vehicle fleets and building new infrastructure with energy efficiency in mind.
At the same time, UITP is strengthening ties with the energy sector, which is critical to decarbonising public transport operations. Across the world our sector is already implementing renewable solutions together with the energy sector; from solar-powered metro systems in Milan and New Delhi to wind energy-powered trains in the Netherlands.
The right funding can ensure a sustainable energy supply for public transport and in turn, provide more equitable decarbonised mobility for all.
Pressure on costs and revenues
The world is changing: as energy prices fluctuate, resources grow more expensive and supply chains are disrupted. At the same time, the pandemic has drastically changed daily habits of public transport riders. Costs and revenues are thus under pressure simultaneously, confronting the public transport sector with critical changes to its financial structure.
Public transport must therefore reinvent its business model. This requires us to address the revenue gap resulting from these pressures. For instance, public transport operators should review their services to match the recent evolution of demand patterns, in particular in suburban and less dense areas, while balancing the need for equitable access, which is one thing our sector can’t lose sight of. We need to ensure sufficient funds to safeguard the public service mission of public transport.
The responsibility to do this lies with the sector itself, but also with public authorities. Considering the many benefits public transport brings to our cities, our planet and our lives, these authorities have a responsibility to make solid investments in the sector.
An unprecedented shortage of labour
The public transport sector is among the largest employers at the local level. In some cities the sector is the largest employer altogether. Importantly, public transport provides secure local jobs that can’t be outsourced and provides a stable income to all levels of society.
We provide those jobs to 2 million people in the EU and 13 million people worldwide. 1 in 5 transport workers in the EU works in public transport. Career development opportunities through training and advancement are significant, especially for young people. On top of that, every direct job in public transport is linked to four jobs in other sectors of the economy.
The work that public transport operators, industries and authorities offer is diverse and decent. The sector provides employment for a range of vocations, from mechanics and engineers to drivers and office workers. As the sector innovates and changes, professional development for all workers is embedded in our DNA.
Like most sectors, public transport is facing an unprecedented crisis of labour shortage. The pressing challenges of the evolution of the labour market need to be addressed. Stimulating the use of public transport by doubling investment could create at least 2.5 million additional jobs in the transport sector worldwide. And this figure increases to at least 5 million jobs if the wider impact on other sectors of the economy is considered.
Public transport commits to using all levers available to address the worker shortage. So we strive to increase diversity in the workforce. We can’t afford to exclude anybody in attracting the talent needed to keep the world moving.