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Mobility: preventing peak loads is a collective task

Until further notice, the 1.5-meter society is our new reality. And this immediately presents public transport companies with major challenges. A better spread of passengers is necessary. According to Fons Kop and Marieke Baarslag, transport companies will not be able to manage this on their own. The effort of many different parties will be needed to achieve this.

Fons Kop: ‘The more economic activity, the more things will start to move. In an open economy, activity means movement of people and products. This can immediately be seen from Google Earth data. This crisis is a wake-up call. Transport was already reaching the limits of its capacity and of its impact on the environment. We need to give structural thought to transport and travel and consider to what extent all movements are really necessary.’

Marieke Baarslag: ‘Transport companies’ revenues have decreased dramatically. The government has to step in now to prevent them from collapsing. This is not a sustainable model. We will therefore have to consider new business models.’

From transporting as many people as possible as often as possible to...

  • The (fixed) costs for equipment and infrastructure are high. This is why the business model of transport companies (public transport, aviation) is based on making as many movements as possible, transporting as many people at the same time as possible. The margins are low.
  • Especially public transport was already reaching the limits of its capacity, in particular during rush hours. It is expected that the 1.5-meter society will be the new reality for a long time. 
  • A large fall in passenger numbers directly leads to major financial problems. Based on the current situation, transport companies will only be able to survive with substantial government funding. optimal spread of people based on new business models.

  • Spreading (fewer) passengers over various periods during the day is crucial. This demands thinking about fundamentally different business models.
  • Spreading passengers implies other working hours and school hours. This requires a collective effort, such as permanent alignment between transport companies and parties like the government, the business sector and the education sector.
  • We need to think about additional transport solutions like driverless cars and (electric) bicycles. Several European cities have started to make their public space more suitable for bicycles.
  • We should make more and better use of technology, for instance, to make reservations and to monitor the occupation of trains and buses.
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Marieke Baarslag

Marieke Baarslag

Director, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 177 93 14

Fons Kop

Fons Kop

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 030 25 70