POLIS, UITP and EMTA publish joint opinion on EU-wide integrated ticketing
Brussels, 18 February 2021 – In a joint statement, POLIS, UITP, and EMTA have outlined key principles for the digital integration of transport services across Europe.
All three associations identify core challenges any European regulatory framework must confront while preserving the public value of public transport services.
As Europe’s transport sector pursues the sustainability objectives outlined in the European Commission’s Green Deal, the digital integration of transport modes enabled by the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concept can support this.
While POLIS, UITP and EMTA welcome such innovation, the organisations call for a central role for public authorities in the governance of the MaaS ecosystem.
This will ensure that digital solutions support, rather than undermine the key role of public transport as the backbone of urban mobility – and the rights of all citizens to affordable and accessible transport services are not diluted.
The group have coalesced to highlight a series of critical principles which they assert any revision to – or development of – European integrated ticketing regulation must adhere to.
“MaaS heralds a new era of transport service commoditisation. While it may create new opportunities for users and operators, it could also lead to adverse effects, as demonstrated by many other popular digital platforms. Cities and their mobility systems are not playgrounds for digital businesses. Effective and public-principled governance frameworks are needed to ensure all stakeholders benefit from MaaS", said Suzanne Hoadley, Senior Manager & Traffic Efficiency Coordinator at POLIS.
"The public transport sector is fully committed to the digital transition and embraces the MaaS concept. With effective governance, integrated mobility solutions can help make the sector more attractive and competitive. In that sense, public transport authorities have a key role to play to organise mobility in their own territory and make sure citizens benefit from sustainable mobility solutions," said Thomas Avanzata, Senior Director of UITP Europe.
“Digital services integrating the mobility system provide great leverage for more sustainable mobility. However, sectors in which digitalization is more advanced have shown that digital service markets are not spared from considerable deficiencies. Especially in mobility, due to the sectors immense physical impact, such deficiencies risk undermining societal goals, creating problematic outcomes in cities and regions – if not addressed accordingly. Effective governance is needed that recognises such risks, steers investment towards meaningful service innovation and ensures transport authorities have the powers and tools to align market outcomes with their sustainable mobility goals,” said Thomas Geier, Research and Policy Officer at EMTA.
The three associations warn local diversity and the instrumental role of public authorities must be recognised. Given the specific needs and characteristics of each country, region or city, any regulation or policy initiative must respect the democratic legitimacy and policy context of local/regional transport authorities.
They advise that effective governance is essential to unite economic and sustainability objectives.
The importance of equitable fare structure is also identified – and users are also placed at the centre of concerns in the calls for improved customer services.
To ensure fairness and balanced market development, the statement asserts that any regulation or policy initiative must be applicable to all types of mobility operators and not be limited to public undertakings.
MaaS solutions also require upgrading of physical infrastructures, often at significant cost to local authorities. The statement calls for financial support programmes to help cover the infrastructure investments and the principle of cost-sharing applied rigorously.
At the same time, transport authorities should continue to be able to award exclusive rights and financial compensation to public transport operators in exchange for carrying out public service obligations.
Read the full opinion from POLIS, UITP, and EMTA here.
POLIS is the leading network of European cities and regions working together to develop innovative technologies and policies for local transport. Since 1989, European local and regional authorities have been working together within POLIS to promote sustainable mobility through the deployment of innovative transport solutions.
For more information, please contact Suzanne Hoadley, Senior Manager & Traffic Efficiency Coordinator, email@example.com.
About UITP Europe
UITP is the international association representing public transport stakeholders. In the European Union, UITP brings together more than 450 urban, suburban, and regional public transport operators, and authorities from all Member States. We represent the perspective of short-distance passenger transport services by all sustainable modes: bus, regional and suburban rail, metro, light rail, tram and waterborne.
For more information, please contact Scott Shepherd, UITP Press and Media Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Association of European Metropolitan Transport Authorities was created in 1998 so as to form a venue for the exchange of information and best practices between the public authorities responsible for planning, integrating and financing public transport services in the large European Cities.
For more information, please contact Thomas Geier, Research and Policy Officer, email@example.com