The “just one ticket” public transport revolution for a greener future
According to the secretary general of UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, Mohamed Mezghani, cities around the world are moving out of blockages to traffic jams as road traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels.
Without a transit revolution, Mr Mezghani says people will have to give up hope for a calmer future seen under coronavirus restrictions, when streetscapes have been reclaimed for exercise, eating and enjoying. urban environments.
He argues that a public transport system redefined in a “green alliance” with walking and cycling is the most effective way to make this vision a reality, moving people instead of countless cars.
Yet most governments have neither financially supported the sector devastated by dramatically reduced demand since the spread of Covid-19, nor taken decisive action to limit car use.
“Public transport is experiencing a paradoxical situation: on the one hand, there is a consensus on its essential role in mobility for all, but, on the other hand, most political decision-makers do not see its benefits for society, l economy and the environment. said Mr. Mezghani The National.
“It is as if it had to be maintained when they generally support other sectors, such as the automotive industry or air travel.”
His comments come as auto giant Ford announced that its risky transmission plant in Halewood on Merseyside will be upgraded to make parts for electric cars with financial aid – apparently £ 30million ($ 41million) – from the UK Government’s Auto Transformation Fund.
Mezghani said simply adopting new technologies was not a panacea on the road to net zero emissions, painting a picture of carbon neutral regions heavily congested with electric vehicles.
It made no sense, he said, for governments to issue “optimistic statements towards 2050 and 1.5 °” as public authorities and besieged local transport operators face fewer passengers and fewer passengers. tariffs reduced services.
“Even having zero emission cars will not solve the problem because a green traffic jam is still a traffic jam,” he said.
“Indeed, sustainability is not only about the environment, but also about making our cities more accessible, more inclusive, safer, healthier and more prosperous.
“This is only possible if we opt for people-centered solutions – this is the essence of public transport.”
In the past, Mezghani said, subways around the world carried 168 million passengers per day, 14 times more than domestic and international airlines. Taking a bus uses up to four times less fuel per passenger, compared to an average occupancy rate of 1.2 for a single-use private car trip.
“Public transport in itself is the way to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,” he insisted, especially now that the networks are doing their homework and emitting less pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Mr Mezghani, who recently called the Manchester United football team for sending the wrong message to fans by taking a 10-minute flight to Leicester, will travel by train from Paris to the upcoming Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow.
Once there, UITP – a non-profit advocacy organization for public transport authorities and operators, representing an international network of 1,800 member companies in over 100 countries – will jointly host a high-level event with the International Union of Railways on board the HydroFLEX. form.
Later today, Mr. Mezghani and other stakeholders will discuss the ambitious mobilization of sustainable transport for both climate change action and a resilient and just recovery.
With ridership at around 60 or 70% of pre-Covid levels, it is embracing a redefinition of public transport to not only encourage more passengers to return, but also to provide various solutions to changes in work habits and preferences for less congested vehicles.
Mr Mezghani said transportation systems modeled on a concept called Mobility as a Service (MaaS) could become more flexible and give consumers what they want.
UITP defines it as a unique digital mobility platform offering integrated planning, booking, payment and route information in public transport, as well as shared bicycles, electric scooters, taxis and cars.
It would encompass “last mile and first mile”, allowing people to buy a pass for all different modes of door-to-door transport rather than station-to-station.
“Previously, we had this pass or monthly subscription, the value of which is calculated based on a person using public transport every day of the week,” he said.
“Now you have to admit that there are a lot of people who will only return to the office two days a week or three days a week.
“So we have to offer them the possibility to use a bicycle with their pass, to use a scooter, to rent a car maybe during the weekend.”
Control should, Mezghani said, rest with a single agency, whether private, public, international or local, and regardless of which company or authority actually operates each mode of transport.
He likens the role to that of a tour operator coordinating flights, shuttles and hotel accommodations into one vacation package.
With convenient public transportation that starts at the door, users could easily – for example, via their smartphones – book a car that would arrive five minutes later to take them to a train station.
“It will force people to change their behavior. They will feel that they don’t need to own a car at all, because they know they can organize everything easily. So the convenience of using public transport is also very important – public transport and all those modes of shared mobility.
“It should,” he said, “be as easy as ordering pizza.”
Updated: October 20, 2021, 18:53