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Making public transport financially sustainable

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  • Buehler, Ralph
  • Pucher, John

Abstract

Over the past two decades, Germany has improved the quality of its public transport services and attracted more passengers while increasing productivity, reducing costs, and cutting subsidies. Public transport systems reduced their costs through organizational restructuring and outsourcing to newly founded subsidiaries; cutting employee benefits and freezing salaries; increasing work hours, using part-time employees, expanding job tasks, and encouraging retirement of older employees; cooperation with other agencies to share employees, vehicles, and facilities; cutting underutilized routes and services; and buying new vehicles with lower maintenance costs and greater passenger capacity per driver. Revenues were increased through fare hikes for single tickets while maintaining deep discounts for monthly, semester, and annual tickets; and raising passenger volumes by improved quality of service, and full regional coordination of timetables, fares, and services. Those efforts by public transport agencies were enhanced by the increasing costs and restrictions on car use in German cities. Although the financial performance of German public transport has greatly improved, there are concerns of inequitable burdens on labor, since many of the cost reduction measures involved reducing wages or benefits of workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Buehler, Ralph & Pucher, John, 2011. "Making public transport financially sustainable," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 126-138, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:18:y:2011:i:1:p:126-138
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kim, Songju & Wachs, Martin, 2006. "Transit and Contracts: What's Best for Drivers?," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt1j02n0d2, University of California Transportation Center.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tscharaktschiew, Stefan & Hirte, Georg, 2012. "Should subsidies to urban passenger transport be increased? A spatial CGE analysis for a German metropolitan area," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 285-309.
    2. Andrea ZATTI, 2012. "New Organizational Models In European Local Public Transport: From Myth To Reality," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 83(4), pages 533-559, December.
    3. Andrea ZATTI, 2011. "Organizational models in European local public transport: is the new paradigm really dominant," Departmental Working Papers 2011-29, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    4. Tomaschek, Jan, 2015. "Marginal abatement cost curves for policy recommendation – A method for energy system analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 376-385.
    5. Drevs, Florian & Tscheulin, Dieter K. & Lindenmeier, Jörg & Renner, Simone, 2014. "Crowding-in or crowding out: An empirical analysis on the effect of subsidies on individual willingness-to-pay for public transportation," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 250-261.
    6. Bastani, Parisa & Heywood, John B. & Hope, Chris, 2012. "The effect of uncertainty on US transport-related GHG emissions and fuel consumption out to 2050," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 517-548.
    7. Faivre d'Arcier, Bruno, 2014. "Measuring the performance of urban public transport in relation to public policy objectives," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 67-76.
    8. repec:eee:trapol:v:61:y:2018:i:c:p:10-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Pietro Lanzini & Andrea Stocchetti, 2017. "The evolution of the conceptual basis for the assessment of urban mobility sustainability impacts," Working Papers 02, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    10. Willoughby, Christopher, 2013. "How much can public private partnership really do for urban transport in developing countries?," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 34-55.

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