Ten months into facing the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe and around the world, providers of Services of General Interest work tirelessly to ensure that essential and high-quality services continue to be safe and available to citizens and businesses even in these unprecedented times. During the lockdowns across Europe, public transport remained active and ensured the continued mobility of essential front-line worker.
Today, we have united in the common interest to underline the health and safety of using all modes of public transportation during and after COVID-19 and call for strategic action that supports this public good for a resilient and green future for cities.
There is enough evidence to demonstrate that, when measures recommended by the health authorities are implemented, the risk of infection with COVID-19 in public transport is very low. Public transport remains one of the safest ways to move around the city and keep cities alive. With the right measures, public transport is COVID-safe.
Public transport is fundamental to achieving sustainable urban mobility, building resilient cities, combating climate change, and boosting local economies leaving no one and no place behind.
We therefore urge the Commission to recognise and strengthen public transport as the backbone of sustainable mobility and to foster modal shift in its upcoming strategy and implement the following six actions to ensure the public transport sector receives the necessary attention it deserves:
- Provide support for public transport operators to ensure they can continue to offer high quality transportation with sufficient frequency
- Recognise the scientifically proven facts instead of perception, when measures recommended by the health authorities are implemented, Public Transport is COVID-safe
- Help to restore public trust and undertake initiatives to be transparent in the media to positively communicate the health and safety measures taken in public transport
- Ensure stable financing and funding for the survival of public transportation. This should be reflected in the upcoming Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and the EU Sustainable Finance Strategy
- Develop measures to increase the resilience of public transport to future potential crises
- Support any mobility strategies or projects presented as part of the national recovery and resilience plans since they contribute and accelerate the shift to clean, sustainable and shared mobility
The Operation of Public Transports guaranteeing health and safety at all times on each level
While ensuring the enforcement of all recommendations by the health authorities, public transport undertakings have introduced additional measures such as:
- Daily cleaning of all vehicles
- Protection shields on buses and trams to protect drivers
- Enforcing the obligation for passengers to wear face masks at the stations and when using public transport
- Providing clear health and safety information for passengers and staff
- Introducing contactless payment
- Using real time information to help passengers to avoid unnecessary crowds
Ahead of the European Commission’s adoption of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, we raise our voice to ensure that on a European level public transportation deserves the necessary attention it needs and safeguards such a valuable public good that liberates citizens movement around Europe and serves as best option for environmentally friendly travelling.
We therefore urge the Commission to recognise and strengthen public transport as the backbone of sustainable mobility and to foster modal shift in its upcoming strategy.