About 60 billion passenger journeys were made by public transport in 2008 in the EU-27. This figure refers to local public transport, including urban, suburban and regional public transport services. Considering the total EU population, this represents about 120 public transport journeys per inhabitant per year. Demand for public transport is not distributed evenly across the European territory. For instance, in the medium and large sized cities included in the Mobility in Cities Database, the number of public transport journeys was about 300 per inhabitant per year.
Public transport ridership has increased steadily in the last 10 years in many countries. Between 2004 and 2008, ridership rose by about 11% in Spain, the UK and the USA. Cities such as London and Brussels recorded particularly high ridership increases - about 20% - during the same period. In France, excluding Paris, the number of passenger journeys increased by about 12% between 2006 and 2008 alone.
In the context of the economic crisis, the volume and stability of employment in public transport are worth highlighting. In the EU-27 the number of direct jobs in public transport can be estimated at about 1,200,000. This figure covers only persons employed by public transport operators. Some countries have also estimated the number of indirect jobs generated by public transport services: they would be approximately 157,000 in Germany and about 160,000 in France.
The contribution of public transport to the economy can be estimated at between 130 and 150 billion EUR, which represents 1 - 1.2% of the EU’s GDP. This figure represents the value created along the public transport supply chain. It does not include the wider impact of public transport on the economy.
The ridership and employment figures above were developed by UITP based on data provided by national public transport associations, transport ministries, national statistics institutes and individual public transport undertakings. A number of hypotheses were made to estimate missing data. The contribution of public transport to the economy was estimated on the basis of EU-level economic and demographic figures as well as data from the Mobility in Cities Database.
The publication of these figures is part of UITP’s effort to provide a “picture” of the public transport sector worldwide. The exercise will be progressively extended to other regions, including CEEC.