Critical for COVID-19 recovery: CEOs and city representatives call for public transport to be key sector in European plan

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  • Press Release

At the European level, UITP works closely with the EU institutions on a broad range of topics.

This important connection has never been more vital as the public transport sector faces current and future challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

Considering the impacts of the pandemic on the sector, UITP has engaged with the leadership of the European institutions on several occasions in the recent weeks and months.

UITP first joined forces with the IRU, Polis, EuroCities and CER to issue an Open Letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der LeyenPresident of the European Council Charles Michel and David Maria Sassoli, President of the European Parliament calling for their ongoing support now, and in the times that lie ahead.

We then took the opportunity to address 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 latest EU Council meeting, as the next steps were being considered for the sector.

Now, as certain cities and countries consider what is next for their lockdown strategies, UITP is continuing our European engagement with two key releases.

As we continue to address the next steps, UITP is also reaching out to the EU institutions by bringing together more than 80 CEOs and city representatives from almost 20 countries.

In order to limit the consequences of the crisis on the public transport sector, exceptional targeted measures will need to be adopted at EU level and rapidly deployed.

By gathering the signatures of these industry leaders, we’re asking that as the European Union is preparing its recovery strategy, the importance of the local (urban, sub-urban and regional) public transport sector for the European economy is vital – it plays a key role in fulfilling many of the EU’s policy objectives and Sustainable Development Goals.

The first available data from various European Member States show that the passenger transport sector’s ecosystem will continue to be heavily affected by the pandemic:
across Europe, the sector expects €40 billion in farebox revenue losses by the end of 2020.

Public transport is a key accelerator of the economy, job creation, social inclusion, health and sustainability – and by signing our Open Letter, these CEOs and city representatives recognise its important role.

We’re proud to bring together many leading industry names and members – including STIB, Wiener Linien, RATP, GVB, Volvo, Keolis, Transdev, FGC, Metro Madrid, Irish Rail, SNCF, Alstom, Metro Lisboa, TMB, Hamburger Hochbahn and Warsaw Metro.

View the Open Letter on the EU’s strategy here

Read our official press release

The press release is also available in French, German, Italian and Polish.

Other sector leaders wish to show their support? Contact

It’s also vitally important to work with other sector stakeholders and make sure our voice is heard during the crucial times in our industry and beyond.

As the European Union leadership considers what economic and social changes are necessary for a post-pandemic world, UITP is speaking up to make sure that public transport is part of that strategy. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the huge benefits of public transport have become evident: they provide an essential mobility service to citizens.

In order to limit the consequences of the crisis on the public transport sector, exceptional targeted measures will need to be adopted at EU level and rapidly deployed.

Public transport is, and will be, a key sector for both the economic recovery and the achievement of the Green Deal objectives.

UITP has joined forces with fellow associations and bodies POLIS, ICLEI, EMTA, the European Cyclists’ Federation, the European Passengers’ Federation, Walk 21, the International Federation of Pedestrians, Cycling Industries Europe, Transport & Environment, the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry and Road Traffic Victims to address the EU on their exit strategy and  an integrated and sustainable approach to urban mobility.

The letter draws the attention of the European leadership to four key points: public transport, walking and cycling, financial support mechanisms focusing on sustainability and the exchange of best practices and codes of practice.

By highlighting these topics, we can show that cities, public transport organisations, walking and cycling bodies all agree that public transport is the backbone and should be invested in.

View the joint Open Letter here

Though the pandemic is still active, it’s important to anticipate what lies ahead.

Many issues will have to be addressed before public transport services can be operated in full capacity to answer the demand for mobility – and UITP will continue to engage with the European institutions to play our role in this.  

In order to survive and thrive, public transport should be a priority for decision makers at the European level.

Visit our dedicated COVID-19 in public transport webpage

Meet the Guardians of our Mobility in our sector series!


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