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Cities cannot go slow on their public transportation and its future needs

The early months of this year saw a slowing or shutting down of urban public transport networks in an unprecedented way. Since then, the question everyone has considered but cannot yet answer, is when, and to what extent, our cities will return to normal.

One of the earliest signs will be the resumption of ridership numbers back towards pre-pandemic levels. Cities which can effectively reassure customers of safety in the short-term and quality in the long-term will have a competitive edge in the post-pandemic economic recovery.

We are now entering an era when the average passenger may not have used public transport in months. Raising levels of anxiety are inevitable. As such, transport authorities and operators first priority is to ensure networks are designed in a way that secures passengers’ actual safety and also provides peace of mind when travelling.

Fear of the unknown

The International Energy Agency recently released a report which perfectly illustrates the challenge facing public transport today. In the IEA’s view, as long as the perceived chance of catching COVID-19 on mass transit outweighs the risks associated with other forms of transport, many commuters will stay away.

his will likely be even more acute in cities, such as many of those across the Middle East, where there is an emerging, as opposed to established public transport culture. Showing these commuters they can travel safely, comfortably and quickly will go a long way to slowing rebuilding confidence in public transport networks.

Over time this feeling of safety, through high quality, high-tech and clean transport, will ensure that cities which invest are happier, healthier and wealthier places to be.

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