Building back European public transport after COVID-19

Publication date:
Annika Degen, Deputy Director, Europe Department, International Association of Public Transport (UITP)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the European public transport sector. In the years leading up to 2020, passenger numbers had constantly grown. The European Green Deal (EGD) further highlighted questions around daily mobility and stressed the importance of safe and efficient public transport systems for the transition to clean and sustainable mobility. Then, the COVID-19 lockdowns led to a sudden and sharp decline of public transport passenger numbers (down as much as 90% during the first wave) and enormous farebox revenue losses throughout 2020 and 2021. Yet, the pandemic has also demonstrated the vital role of public transport systems for accessing work and essential services. Across European cities, despite low passenger numbers public transport companies, often backed by local authorities, continued to operate at a next-to-normal level to provide mobility to those who rely on them.