COVID-19 Stuns Public TransportationBy MBN Staff | Fri, 04/17/2020 - 14:41
The World Resource Institute (WRI), a thinktank, published a report stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has put grave pressures on public transportation. The study used data released by mobility authorities in Mexican cities located in 13 states. WRI urged authorities to take measures for alleviating the impact on the sector.
The document explains that collective public transportation is essential to activities for overcoming the health crisis. It is the preferred means of transport used by nearly 40 percent of Mexicans. More than 160,000 jobs depend on public transportation, mainly those of the drivers of transportation units. It is estimated that in the months of emergency losses will reach MX$9.8 billion (US$411.5 million).
WRI says Demand for public transportation has decreased partly because users have chosen alternative travel modes due to contagion fears. Out of all users that have changed transportation methods during the sanitary emergency, 38 percent are spending double or more than double to move around. This hits the already tight incomes of some of Mexico’s most vulnerable citizens, thus making them even more susceptible to health issues.
Likewise, WRI notes that constriction in demand means that employment for workers in the public transport system is at risk. Urban and suburban collective public transport employs 3.5 times more workers than air, sea and rail transport. Furthermore, tighter incomes will lead to halting technology improvements in vehicles, which will impact user safety and pollution generation.
In order to minimize COVID-19’s adverse effect on public transportation, WRI has made the following proposals to the authorities:
- Recognize collective public transport as an essential component for overcoming the impact of the sanitary crisis, as well as its social and economic dimensions.
- Prioritize the design and implementation of measures that provide job security to workers in the sector.
- Allocate emergency funds delivered through transparent and efficient mechanisms that contribute to long-term financial and operational sustainability.
- Design federal support schemes that contribute to the financial, economic and social reactivation of public transport.
- Prioritize the application of resources in systems that have transparent and efficient execution mechanisms for the application of emergency resources.
- Anticipate the recovery of the sector, taking into account not only the compensation of losses but investment that reactivates its transformation and improvement.
- Establish future legal and institutional schemes that foresee the occurrence of contingencies and other emergencies.