Sat. Apr 20th, 2019

"A free public transport would end up paying citizens"

"A free public transport would end up paying citizens"

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«The parties should stop discriminating against us and using us as a political weapon», thinks Miguel Ruiz, president of the urban public transport association ATUC, who also denounces that public transport is being ignored. Ruiz defends that the quality of our system has nothing to envy to that of the most developed countries, but admits the urge to reinforce it to help reduce polluting emissions, especially in urban areas, as Brussels and the Paris Agreement oblige us.

In his opinion, it is urgent that the next government improve the draft of the Climate Change Law, which included the obligation to create before 2023 low emission zones in municipalities of more than 50,000 inhabitants, for which restrictions will be extended to private traffic, as in Madrid. "We must develop measures for public transport in the Climate Change Law, including a financing law that guarantees resources and sets what each Administration provides, but on a legal framework sponsored by the State that does not exist today."

Miguel Ruiz highlights the limited commitment shown by the State to the management of public transport, which in the large cities absorbs 60% of the trips, since it barely finances 7% of its total cost. «It is a service of first necessity that in Spain use 4.5 million people. But politicians do not pay enough attention to it or opportunistically lend it to the municipal elections as a weapon to capture votes, promising the free system when those costs would end up supporting them citizens. We must look for models of sustainable mobility, which does not happen only to electrify the car fleet. A decisive commitment to public transport is necessary ».

In the opinion of the public transport employers, it is essential that this commitment be translated into improve financing mechanisms, so that the funds that are granted each year should be linked to the GDP growth during the previous year, to the number of users and to the environmental requirements. Also, with the Financing Law, "Whose approval should be a priority for the next Government", a state fund for sustainable urban mobility should be created, gradually replacing the current financing mechanism, based on State subsidies and program contracts, "avoiding the political instrumentalization of funds".


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