Public transport is often portrayed as a sector of heavy transport modes and high-end technologies, but much more importantly, public transport is a people’s industry. From front-line employees to engineers and high-level executives, our sector is driven by the passion and determination of individuals to provide the best services possible to passengers. Our new web series ‘A people’s industry’ aims at introducing the leaders that are driving public transport forward.
Our next leader to be interviewed is Gianni Scarfone, General Manager, ATB Mobilita in Bergamo, Italy. ATB Mobilita is a public transport operator in Bergamo, where they have recently introduced 12 new electric buses to their transport system.
What is the most important change related to public transport you have witnessed since you started working in the sector?
There is no doubt that over the past few decades the technological revolution is the most important change that has affected our industry and society as a whole. Technological advances continue to affect not only the processes and organisation of mobility systems, but also the behaviour and expectations of people who use transport services.
What is the leading force of innovation in your organisation?
Openness to change and innovation together with a vision that focuses on people who use transport services with the aim of improving quality. The creation of a full electric urban line that we recently activated in our city represented a concrete opportunity, an event led by this vision: openness to change and innovation but, at the same time, the central role of the people.
What would be the most important challenge facing the industry in the years to come?
I believe there will be at least two important challenges for our industry in the coming years: first of all, the contribution made by public transport and the development of integrated mobility to tackle the issue of global warming. After the Paris Conference, UITP launched a global programme on this issue that we recognised and to which we are committed. Our goal is to increase the share of public transport and ‘soft’ mobility, while at the same time promoting the development of integrated mobility systems. Our aims are to reach a share of public transport and soft mobility of 40% in the next 8-10 years, reducing the use of private cars and, at the same time, reaching the goal of a completely ‘green’ fleet: development of tram lines, fully electric or CNG buses.
Our goal is to increase the share of public transport and ‘soft’ mobility, while at the same time promoting the development of integrated mobility systems.
The second challenge can be represented by the expression "who's on first?” in the evolution of the mobility market of the future, meaning who will be able to meet the needs of the travellers of the future: modern and evolved public transport companies able to integrate different modes (public transport and shared mobility) and satisfy individual and subjective needs.
What would you tell world leaders to encourage them in developing more public transport?
It’s essential that world leaders become aware that the development of public transport and integrated mobility is one of the fundamental components of a new model of development and growth based on the concept of sustainability (environmental, social and economic) and compatibility with the environmental balance of the planet and with the improvement of people's quality of life. Some countries have become aware of these issues and their leaders are rethinking their development models, paying attention to the ‘green’ economy and to the fundamental concepts of the ‘circular’ economy. We can only encourage them in this direction.
The development of public transport and integrated mobility is one of the fundamental components of a new model of development and growth based on the concept of sustainability
If you had one piece of advice to give to someone entering the sector, what would it be?
Especially to young people: put your passion and your commitment to work in a world that will be altered by radical changes in the next few years, but that will have always a direct relationship with people who use the mobility services and with people who are engaged every day in the organisation of these services.
What are you most proud of since working in public transport?
I’m certainly proud of some important innovations and investments that we have made in recent years: the construction of the new tramway line, an efficient and effective transport network and the recent activation of a fully electric line. But what really matters is the daily satisfaction in trying to guarantee to thousands of people a quality service and a fundamental right: the right to mobility.
Stay tuned for our next Q&A in the 'A People's Industry' series!