UITP outlines next stages for public transport during COVID-19
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Posted: 28 April 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
In an Open Letter to the European institutions, UITP has set out the next steps required for the progressive resumption of services and the survival of urban public transport and local mobility services.
The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) has addressed the European institutions on the progressive resumption of services and the survival of urban public transport and local mobility services, in an Open Letter sent in the lead-up to the next EU Council meeting.
With the progressive resumption of services expected in the coming days and weeks, UTIP has stressed that the sector will have to face multiple complex challenges in order to play its part in post-lockdown strategies.
It suggested that the local public transport sector will have to adapt to the phasing out of travel restrictions and the phasing in of various types of activities as the entire ecosystem of the sector will have to fight to survive this crisis; to rebuild trust in public transport in the post-COVID-19 period and, ultimately, to come out the other side stronger.
By issuing a second Open Letter, UITP Europe has stated that it would like to illustrate the current situation in three parts.
First, it said that concerns related to the progressive resumption of services post-lockdown must be addressed.
“Though the pandemic is still active, it is important to anticipate the progressive lifting of the lockdown and prepare to swiftly resume operations in due time. However, many issues will have to be addressed before public transport services can be operated in full capacity to answer the demand for mobility. These include rules on the wearing of masks, social distancing, protecting workers and communicating with passengers,” UITP wrote in a statement.
The second section focuses on the measures that need to be adopted at the EU level in order to preserve the public transport ecosystem.
In order to limit social, economic and financial consequences, the Open Letter argues that exceptional targeted measures will need to be adopted at the EU level and rapidly deployed.
It also stated that substantial EU financing and grants to the public transport sector are critical if we want to overcome the looming recession and ensure at least the ‘pre-crisis levels of services’.
The third section focuses on strongly reaffirming the need to strengthen the Green Deal objectives in the face of environmental concerns.
According to UTIP, the European Green Deal remains Europe’s most important sustainable growth strategy.
“As the economy recovers, it should be steered towards a Green Deal compatible growth. Given the economic consequences that the sustainable public transport sector is facing due to the crisis, it is vital that the EU prioritise political and financial support for sustainable urban modes of transport,” the statement continued.
UITP is also releasing a new Knowledge Brief: Covid-19 pandemic: Resuming public transport services post-lockdown, addressing the necessary topics, such as operations and business, health, and the required steps that have been taken, and need to be put in place, for the sector to adapt.