Thinking Cities magazine #15

Coach and the city

Does the subject of coach access to city centres get the attention it deserves? It certainly does now! POLIS' Ivo Cré on a challenge that's ready to be solved.

Throughout Europe, cities are studying how they can best plan for coach access to city centres, thus enabling tourists to access the city at low cost as well as providing access for long haul regular coach travel. These strategies include push as well as pull measures and they all require close co-operation with the coach sector. It is time for us to commit to this dialogue. That is why POLIS and IRU invite their members and other stakeholders to sign up to the Stakeholders’ Pledge to enhance collective mobility in cities’ - Coach travel in, around and between European Cities

Coach transport offers access to city centres for specific groups of travellers. Tourists in package tours reach their destination by means of chartered coaches. Regular long-distance coach travel offers mobility at a modest price, for instance to workers. Coach travel has seen an important growth in Europe, and several European cities are developing strategies to maintain the contribution of this very particular mode to environmentally sustainable mobility and tourism. In addition, these strategies use at the fullest the potential of coach travel as a flexible collective mode, which contributes to the transport system resilience (eg the limited requirements in terms of additional infrastructures to allow for coach travel).



"Cities are at the start of integrating coach in the urban mobility system. It reminds me of how we were looking at urban freight management a decade ago – leading currently to mature planning and operational solutions. Coach is part of the solution for cities, and the challenges that might arise are complex but overseeable and can be managed. Several Polis members work with the coach sector – a sector that operates in a competitive business environment, interacting with multiple operators. The cities also have to take into account the travellers’ needs. Polis is convinced that cooperation is key, and that is why we sign up to this pledge and invite other to join the process!"-

Karen Vancluysen - POLIS Network Secretary General



Raluca Marian - IRU General Delegate of the Permanent Delegation to the European Union

"Like buses, tourist coaches are a form of collective mobility that help to combat air quality and congestion issues in cities. Although severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, we hope that coaches will soon resume their vital role in collective mobility chains and mass transit systems in, around and between European cities. Collaboration between cities and commercial transport operators is essential for the green mobility of tomorrow. IRU is extremely pleased to sign the Pledge on the urban vehicle access regulations for coach travel alongside Polis. This is an important step towards recognising coach services as essential for urban societies and economies, which will further discourage the banning or restriction of coach access to cities under the guise of UVARs without the necessary alternatives and solutions."-

Raluca Marian - IRU General Delegate of the Permanent Delegation to the European Union


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