Demand for public transport on the rise

A total of 57.9 billion public transport journeys were made in 2014 in the EU-28 member states.

The new UITP Statistics Brief on Local Public transport in the EU highlights 2014 as the first year for distinct growth in demand for public transport following the years of stable demand brought upon by the start of the economic crisis in 2008.  

The shares of each of the transport modes have remained relatively stable over the past years. Of the 57.9 billion public transport journeys made in 2014, 55.8% were by bus, 16.1% by metro, 14.5% by tram and 13.6% by suburban rail.

However, the overall positive trend masks the significant variations in national trajectories which are closely linked with employment rates across states.

Poland showcases the link between economic indicators and public transport demand: ridership was on a slowly decreasing trend until 2013, when a major drop – over 6.5% decrease compared with 2012 – occurred. This matched a large drop in the national inflation rate and private consumption rates being at their lowest level since 1996.

The majority of the countries ranking above the EU average in terms of public transport journeys per urban inhabitant are located either in Central and Eastern Europe or in Northern Europe. The CEE countries that joined the EU in 2004, 2007 and 2013 had rather high levels of public transport demand.

In these countries the number of journeys was generally on a slowly decreasing trend, which in many cases was accelerated when unemployment rose following negative economic performance during the crisis. Encouragingly, in the Baltic countries, Hungary and Croatia this trend appears to have stopped, with the number of journeys showing moderate growth since 2010.

Romania, Poland and Czech Republic, currently having journeys per capita above EU average, are experiencing overall decreasing demand.

To access the UITP Statistics Brief 'Local public transport in the European Union' click here.