Labour MEPs back calls for safer, more sustainable public transport in towns and cities

Labour MEPs are set to vote today for a report supporting many of their calls for improved public transport in urban areas.

The UK lags behind many other European countries for satisfaction with urban transport – according to a survey by the European Commission, 85 per cent of people in the UK believe road congestion in cities is an important problem, compared with an EU average of 76%.

Travelling costs in cities are also a key issue for the British public, with 83% saying they are an important problem, compared to 72% in Germany and 65% in France. Less than a quarter of Europeans believe the urban traffic situation will improve in the future, with Britons the most pessimistic – 61% say the situation will get worse.

Lucy Anderson MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on transport, and Socialists and Democrats Group spokesperson on the report, said:

“The sustainable urban transport agenda is something that we can all be proud to campaign for. I am delighted that so many of our priorities have been recognised and supported in this report.

“These include a focus on road safety, together with fostering a shift towards more walking and cycling in cities, as well as demands for public transport that is cleaner, and more affordable and accessible.”

On the wider positive impact of good urban transport policies, Ms Anderson added:

“Our towns and cities are the drivers of growth and economic activity, generating more than 80 per cent of EU GDP. But they are also often very unequal places, with extreme divisions between rich and poor, and with inadequate attention given to the needs of workers who mainly live in more suburban areas and face long and expensive commutes.

“It is therefore crucial to recognise the link between the workforce in cities and the role of public transport in helping to fight poverty and social exclusion.”

The adoption of the report is also backed by many organisations and campaigners that have worked closely with Labour MEPs on the outcomes.

The President of the European Transport Workers’ Federation Urban Public Transport Committee Alain Sutour, said:

“With the increase of the population in European urban areas, ensuring sustainable urban mobility – in particular through public transports – is and will remain crucial to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

“Urban mobility is delivered every day by transport workers, whose working and social conditions are a fundamental factor for the provision of healthy, accessible, safe and quality transport services. The defence and improvement of such conditions shall then always be a priority for European, National and local policy makers.”

Trevor Garrod, president of the European Passengers’ Federation, added:

“We in EPF, representing 34 associations in 20 European countries, have consistently supported the aspirations of the Urban Mobility Plan, and so the resolution of the European Parliament is music to our ears. The European Union must encourage the spread of good practice and making funding available where necessary.

“While there is a role for electric cars, it is only through a modal shift to public transport that congestion in our cities will be tackled; sustainable Urban Mobility Plans need to become the norm in European cities, with integrated services and ticketing, intelligent transport systems and park-and-ride schemes at interchanges.

“We have also regularly pressed for passenger involvement through consultation and the measuring of customer satisfaction, and so are pleased that the MEPs are also supporting such measures.”