EU urban mobility leaders urge enhanced focus on public transport in next legislative term

Leading voices in European urban mobility have united to advocate for intensified attention towards public transport in the upcoming legislative term.

Addressing the EU Institutions, a coalition comprising EMTA, EPTO, Eurocities, IRU, POLIS, and UITP underscored the pivotal role of public transport in shaping sustainable urban landscapes.

Focusing on public transport

With an annual throughput exceeding 50 billion passengers, public transport emerges as the linchpin of European urban mobility, offering a sustainable, efficient, and inclusive alternative for daily commuting. Beyond mere transport, it fosters access to essential services such as employment, education, healthcare, and cultural enrichment. Emphasising its pivotal role in cultivating liveable and people-centric cities, the coalition highlights public transport's contribution to cleaner air, reduced congestion, and enhanced green spaces.

The economic significance of public transport is equally profound, with investments in the sector yielding far-reaching benefits, particularly at the local and regional levels. As one of the largest local employers, the sector fosters diversity and economic resilience. Europe proudly stands as a hub for excellence in both rolling stock manufacturing and public service operations, boasting globally recognised expertise.

A post-COVID view toward the future

Despite the challenges posed by the post-COVID landscape, the public transport sector remains steadfast in delivering high-quality and safe services while driving innovation and customer-centric improvements. However, the sector grapples with mounting costs associated with technology adoption and infrastructure upkeep, exacerbated by a looming staff shortage.

Looking ahead to the 2024-2029 legislative term and the forthcoming Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the coalition calls for a renewed emphasis on bolstering local public transport to achieve Europe's economic, social, and sustainability objectives. Proposals include recognising public transport's strategic importance in urban initiatives, advocating for a European Declaration on Public Transport, enhancing coordination between European institutions and local stakeholders, and securing sufficient funding for technology adoption and infrastructure expansion.

Central to this advocacy is the imperative to support public transport at all political levels to foster growth and realise modal shift ambitions. Without decisive action, Europe's climate goals, including the EU's Climate Neutral Cities mission, remain unattainable.

Read the Joint Open Letter