Try Public Transport!
With our “Try Public Transport!” campaign we encourage drivers to take public transport!
Today, 16 September 2019, VSIA “Autotransporta direkcija” (Road Transport Administration), in cooperation with AS “Pasažieru vilciens” (Passenger Train), launches information campaign “Try Public Transport!” to motivate the inhabitants of Latvia to switch from private car to public transport, thus not only reducing traffic jams but also saving resources and protecting the environment.
Currently, the average number of passengers per car in Latvia is from 1.6 to 1.9 persons. More than 350 cars are registered per 1000 inhabitants and this number is increasing, especially in Riga and Pieriga. As a result there are more and more traffic jams, causing people to spend more time each day on the road and also having a negative impact on the environment.
According to the research centre SKDS, the most popular reason for using public transport in Latvia is lower price, because a public transport ticket costs much less than fuel, car repair, insurance, taxes, etc.; there are stops near the place of residence or work; suitable transport schedules and the absence of other means of transport. The most common reason for opting out of public transport services, however, is a private or work car at the disposal of inhabitants (SKDS surveys, 2017-2019).
“Surveys show that there are many more arguments for using public transport than against using it, and the benefits mentioned are not the only ones. The quality of public transport has significantly improved over the last three years: the average age of buses has decreased significantly, subscription tickets on 674 routes and cashless payments on more than a half of all buses have been introduced, improved options of purchasing train tickets, greater availability of information about bus and train timetables, the ability to plan a trip through Google Maps. Switching to public transport, residents will be able to spend their time more efficiently while enjoying a comfortable and safe journey” says Kristiāns Godiņš, Chairman of the Board of the Road Transport Administration.
The reduction in the number of cars on Latvian roads is also anticipated by the Public Transport Future Concept 2021-2030. Its main task is to facilitate the switching from private cars to competitive, convenient, safe, reliable and integrated public transport by developing equally high quality public transport services throughout Latvia. This new concept foresees that rail transport will be the backbone of public transport, since trains are designed to carry large masses. Already now, at the peak hours of the morning and evening, AS “Pasažieru vilciens” carries 18,000 passengers and provides 243 train journeys daily.
“The train is a fast and convenient means of transport: our passengers appreciate mobility at peak hours, as well as timetable, speed and punctuality – 99% of train journeys arrive on time. Cost is also an important argument for choosing to travel by train. I want to encourage those passengers who still go to the ticket office to try the convenient mobile app of “Pasažieru vilciens” on their smartphone, because e-ticket costs 5% less than the traditional paper ticket. We will offer more express journeys without stopping at less busy bus stops. According to the Eurobarometer 2018, Latvian residents, compared to other European countries, express the highest satisfaction with the punctuality and reliability of trains” reveals Rodžers Jānis Grigulis, Chairman of the Board of “Pasažieru vilciens”.
No less important is the reduction of the ecological footprint on the environment when giving up private road transport. The average CO2 emissions from a single car are 200 g/km. This means that 52 cars produce 10,400 g/km of CO2, while one bus only produces 900 g/km, or 17.3 g/km when distributed to 52 bus passengers.
“In a situation where drivers can choose from a variety of transport services that best suit them to get to their destination, only one or two people in a car is an irrational and excessive use of different resources. The easier and smarter we move between cities and regions, the more time and financial resources we will save” says Neils Balgalis, an urban planning expert at the urban planning firm “Grupa93”.
The “Try Public Transport!” campaign was launched shortly before the International Carfree Day to be celebrated on 22 September. During the campaign, every Latvian driver is invited to make the usual trip using public transport at least once and to appreciate its benefits.