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The Future is Public Transport!

Mar 30, 2021

Public transport connects us – to our loved ones, our communities, our jobs and our cities. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, public transport systems and workers have kept our cities moving for the millions of essential workers and city residents who rely on services every day.

PSI is joining the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and C40 Cities, a coalition of mayors leading the world’s 100 largest cities, in reclaiming public transport for all in “The Future is Public Transport” global campaign, launched today 30 March.

The campaign is also supported by the world largest city and local government network United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), as well as by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment Organizing and Globalizing) and Greenpeace.

Public service workers are joining public transport workers, unions and mayors to demand that governments make historic global investments in public transport to ensure a green and just recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

Public transport is a cornerstone of equity, a foundation of sustainable development, and a precondition to achieve the ecological transition we urgently need.

The ITF, PSI, UCLG and C40 call for an urgent injection of stimulus funding in public transport services and infrastructure to ensure access to public services and drive economic stimulus, job creation and climate action.

Public transport is a cornerstone of equity, a foundation of sustainable development, and a precondition to achieve the ecological transition we urgently need. For millions of people worldwide, public transport is the only option to reach hospitals, schools, kindergartens, care, registry, libraries, and the many other public services that enable human rights and a dignified life. They are also key to connect rural areas to cities and urban centres and vice-versa.

Bold investments in public transport must be the priority for national and local governments, for the millions of people who rely on them every day, and as a springboard for the transformation of our societies to address the climate emergency.


The Covid-19 crisis has made it clear that we need urgent investments in public transport to deliver safe, reliable and affordable services for the millions of residents living in our cities. You’re invited to join the movement of workers, mayors, union leaders and city residents around the world – let’s take action together to protect livelihoods, create good jobs, and confront the climate crisis.

The Future is Public Transport

PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli said: “Without strong public transport systems, workers – especially women, migrant, young, precarious and informal workers – face greater barriers to access employment opportunities and fully participate in society. Many public service workers are also disadvantaged. Learning from the pandemic means this is the time to invest in strong local public services, including in public transport infrastructure to ensure a just, prosperous and green future for all”.

“Right now, governments around the world are working to prepare for the global recovery, and we have a crucial opportunity to drive economic development that will create millions of decent, sustainable jobs while also accelerating climate action,” said John Mark Mwanika, Chair of the ITF Urban Transport Committee. “Together, workers, passengers, mayors and trade union leaders, must raise the volume on why public transport matters and why bold, job-creating investments are needed now to ensure that the future is public transport.”

Newly released C40 Cities’ research “The Future Of Public Transport - Investing in a frontline service for frontline workers” confirms that green investment in global public transport systems will not only safeguard existing jobs, but will also create millions of decent, sustainable jobs and drastically cut emissions in the next decade.

“The road to recovery is paved with investments in our infrastructure, because public transportation is more than just a way to move people around — it’s a vehicle for opportunity, equity, and a better quality of life,” said C40 Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This report solidifies what mayors already know: any recovery from Covid-19 must be green, just, fair, and driven by investments in public transportation that will help create jobs, reduce emissions, and lift up our most vulnerable residents.”

"The crises stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted who and what we were leaving behind and have brought to the fore the vital role that public service provision plays in the protection of people and the planet" said Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). " Public transport is an integral part of these services and has worked non-stop during the crisis ensuring that all people have access to essential services and access to opportunity."

The C40 report finds that proper investment in public transport could:

  • Protect workers in lower income and public service sector jobs who rely on public transport for their livelihoods including hospital staff, retail workers and other sectors critical in delivering the Covid-19 recovery for cities around the globe.

  • Create 4.6 million additional jobs by 2030 across 100 cities with multiplying economic impacts for jobs created as a result of greater access to public transport.

  • Reduce air pollution from transport by up to 45% in some cities resulting in better public health and longer life expectancy in cities across the globe.

  • Help cities to cut emissions from urban transport in half by 2030 – a crucial step to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and keep global temperature rise to below 1.5°C. Failure to support public transport will put the world on track for more than 3°C heating, with devastating consequences.

  • Connect city residents to work and education opportunities, leisure activities and each other, vital in creating vibrant, thriving, equitable communities and supporting recovery efforts from the pandemic.

Join the Future is Public Transport Campaign!

Public transportation workers are keeping the world moving during the Covid-19 pandemic

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What you can do:

  • Sign up for The Future is Public Transport Campaign

  • Share workers’ public transport stories

A joint ITF-PSI workers delegation is part to the Workers’ Delegation to the ILO Tripartite technical meeting on the future of decent and sustainable work in urban transport services, scheduled from 30 August to 3 September 2021.

PSI in the News

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