Over 80 percent of Europe’s populations live in urban centers. They are plagued by traffic congestion, long commuting times, environmental pollution and inefficient public transport. Worthy efforts continue to overcome the growing problems. Many fail. Given the present context, where privatization, public-private partnerships and market-based solutions are considered essential elements in a “holistic” solution, problems will surely multiply not decrease. The emphasis should be on public, not private solutions. Still, state investment in urban public transport systems has not kept pace with needs. Moreover, modernising public transport has been confused with privatising, when the real need was to modernise the public management of transport systems. Generally, there is little impetus in favour of a long term plan. Through major public investments, it would create new infrastructures for mass urban transport. Its control and strategic direction would be retained by public authorities, operating not for profit but to serve a public purpose. As a general rule, public transport systems run as if they were private entities cannot solve satisfactorily the large scale problems of urban mobility. At national level, free market ideological dogma obscures this reality. Perhaps it can be countered at a European level, but I doubt it.
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