Proposals to double ridership

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Group will focus on group coach travel, local buses, long-distance coach services and taxis

EUROPE The International Road Transport Union (IRU), in co-operation with the European Commission, launched the Public- Private Smart Move High Level Group (HLG) last week. The group aims to double the number of users of passenger transport by bus, coach and taxis in the EU within the next 10 years by attracting users out of private cars, as advocated by the Smart Move campaign.

The Smart Move HLG is composed of representatives from EU institutions, including the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament, and private businesses, representative associations and other sectoral stakeholders from civil society.

It will focus its work on three main issues: intercity long distance regular services, group coach tourism, and urban transport and commuting, including scheduled bus services and taxis. Each issue will be analysed from its legal, fiscal, social and customer aspects, with a focus on safety and sustainability, and in particular users’ needs.

Yves Mannaerts, IRU Vice President and Member of the HLG, said: “We are extremely satisfied that this industry proposal is now supported by the European Commission, leading MEPs, and partners from civil society. Our objective is to propose to European citizens, politicians and businesses an ambitious and pragmatic road map on how to make collective passenger transport by road the preferred choice of European citizens, and to reach the Smart Move objective to double the number of bus and coach users in the next 10 years. This will be a concrete contribution to the follow up of the EU Transport White Paper and the implementation of the EU 2020 Growth Agenda priorities, at the lowest costs to society.”

The HLG is expected to produce:

  • Policy and business recommendations on doubling the number of users of collective passenger transport by bus, coach and taxis;
  • An Action Plan with recommended deadlines for the period 2013/2015-2030; and
  •  An Internet-based, publicly available and renewable compilation of policy and business best practices.

A dedicated Internet page will be opened on the Smart Move website www.busandcoach.travel to allow all interested European citizens and stakeholders to follow the work of the Smart Move High Level Group and provide additional input to the debate.