How to promote a coordinated action to calibrate the capabilities of public transport?
In this new recovery phase of productive activity and the return to our social activity, especially in the public transport service –flagship of this system–, our mobility system will have to take on enormous responsibility, with the support of all of us, as we have been doing since the beginning with our healthcare system. Both of them are pillars in our community and social cohesion, of which we take pride in and care about.
The issue we’re facing is the massive –although unequal– replacement of public transport with private vehicles. It’s imperative to recognize the challenge that we’re facing with the reactivation of the activity in cities.
First and foremost, if those who used public transport before and choose to replace it with a private vehicle, the clean air that we were starting to enjoy in many polluted cities will disappear, affecting the health and life expectancy of citizens.
Secondly, this rise in the cost of moving by public transport can worsen the consequences of the economic crisis that we are facing.Without public transport, many lose their ability to access their workstation. This link between public transport and access to a workstation can have nefarious consequences towards an economic reactivation and inequality.
In addition, the general drop in the use of public transport is already affecting the income of public transport companies, aggravating even more the fiscal crisis that will come in the aftermath of the health crisis. If we add the costs of increasing efforts in cleaning and disinfecting vehicles, tallying the balance of public transport will be an impossible task.
The healthcare system was a key factor on our response to the health impact of the virus. Now, the urban mobility system is key to our response to the economic crisis. Its endurance stems from measures that need the joint collaboration of private, public and social organizations. The incentives of several actors are aligned more than ever, as this is not only an environmental issue, or social, or economic or employment reactivation related.
After the well-deserved applause to our health healthcare workers, it’s the turn of our mobility workers, as keeping our public transport afloat is vital. Our health –environmental, physical, economical and social– depends on it.
The initiative “Nos movemos, nos ciudamos” (We move, we care), launched by the Madrid City Council, the Community of Madrid and El Día Después promotes the adhesion of companies, social organizations and public entities so that, by keeping the rigid measures of the pandemic such as working from home and timetable flexibility, a more efficient use of public transport is achieved and it can support returning to pre-pandemic levels and reverting the negative effects of the increasing and massive use of private vehicles and single occupancy.
With the support of: Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Públicas de Madrid (CRUMA)