Updated January 3, 2024
What is Public Transportation?
Transportation is a lifeline for the country that connects people and places through its network. There are different types of transport like air, water, road, railways, etc. Hence, the most invaluable part of any country is its public transport. The network serves lakhs of people and covers places to facilitate the commute of its travelers.
Moreover, it is a part of the government’s asset that serves its public and paves for development. Even though public transport is the most used means to travel, it has advantages and disadvantages.
History of Transportation
Humans initially relied on walking and domesticated animals for transportation, but the development of wheels brought about a remarkable change in transportation history. Horsecart, horsecar, bullock carts, carriages, and human-pulled rickshaws were used for transport and trade. The industrial revolution brought significant advancements in transportation during the 18th and 19th centuries, with the first motorway, bicycle, and car being built.
However, railways and steam locomotives revolutionized transportation in the 19th century, and horse-drawn omnibuses, trams, steam trains, steamboats, and steamships, were widely used. In the 20th century, there have been significant advancements in the transportation industry, particularly with the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles like monorails, metro trains, bullet trains, electric buses, cars that run on battery and hydrogen, etc. These technologies could reduce carbon emissions and make transportation safer and accessible to everyone.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Transport
There are so many Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Transport. Let’s start with the Advantages of Public Transport.
Advantages of Public Transport
- Public Transport leads to less air pollution as more people commute via single vehicle eliminating the need to travel by different modes.
- In some areas, public transport is the only means to commute. It is the only facility for people to travel to different places. Hence, public transport is like a blessing for them.
- Many people who cannot afford to buy their vehicles and cars generally travel by public transport. It is a very cost-effective mode of commuting for them.
- Public transport is a very fuel-efficient mode of transport per capita or person; fuel consumption is less.
- Talking about its economics, the government spends a lot to develop public transport infrastructure in the country. The revenue generated from public transport is a lot which helps in its maintenance. This is because it is the most used transport and very cost-effective.
- It is safer as they have high safety standards and protocols built-up.
- Public Transport enables people to eliminate maintenance and service charges for personal vehicles. Along with that, there are parking charges levied in many places. Hence, public travel eliminates the need to identify parking spaces in congested areas and pay for them.
- Public commute vehicles have their stipulated and scheduled timetable. They follow that accurately. Hence, it is easier for travelers to predict the timings and manage their schedules accordingly.
- The transport encourages people to do physical activities; for example, you have to walk or commute to the station to take the bus or train, etc. It boosts walking and soaking in the sunlight even for some time compared to traveling via personal vehicles. It’s a rare and unconventional advantage.
- While traveling, commuters can focus on different activities like reading books, listening to music, etc. It is unlikely while traveling by personal vehicle.
Disadvantages of Public Transport
- The commute by public transport can be slower than by personal vehicles. It has to cover stoppages, stands, and stations on the specific route.
- As public transport vehicles don’t stop at specific destinations, you must take care of your travel from the stand or station to reach your desired stop.
- Privacy is a big issue in public transport. There are a lot of crowds, and sometimes you need more space to sit.
- Public transport has a low level of comfort.
- Cleanliness can be a big issue if public transport vehicles are not well-maintained. It leads to foul smells and hygiene problems. People can also get transmittable diseases due to limited space.
- The timings of the public transport timetable may differ from your timings. It leads to increased waiting time and disturbance of your routine.
- The limited space may be uncomfortable for women with children or disabled people as personal vehicles.
- Safety for women from bad touch or stares may be compromised in public transport if there are large crowds.
- Loud, talkative passengers or irritating passengers make the commute for other travelers difficult.
- Sometimes you don’t get enough space to put your luggage compared to the personal vehicle as the luggage of all the people has to accommodate in the public transport.
- Sometimes the crew of public transport plays music loudly and may irritate the passengers who don’t want to hear it.
- If you misplace any item in public transport, the chances of recovering it are minimal.
- There is no flexibility in the timings of public transport. Once you miss a bus or train, you must wait longer for another or opt for a different mode. It creates a last-minute hassle for you.
- You cannot get personal space in public transport and expect to meet different passengers.
Case Studies of Revolutionary Transport Systems
1. London Overground or the Tube
The London Overground, the Tube, is the world’s first and largest metro subway system. The tube provides an efficient, reliable way to travel around the city. About 5 million commuters travel by Tube daily.
It has made significant efforts to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions, and make the city a healthier place to live and work.
2. Paris Metro
Metro in Paris has played a significant role in transforming the city’s transport system and has helped people in various ways. It is the fastest way to get around the city, has 304 stations over 16 metro lines, reduces traffic congestion, and is accessible to people with disabilities.
The daily ridership of commuters in the metro is 4.26 million. It has also positively impacted the economy of Paris. Metro provides transport all hours of the day and late at night for people to access businesses and tourist attractions.
3. Sydney Light Rail
Sydney Light Rail is the largest rail network in Australia which transformed the city’s transport system and improved the quality of life for its inhabitants. These trains are seamless, reliable, and accessible, reducing commuter travel time.
Furthermore, it makes it easier for people to commute to work, visit family, or explore the city. Sydney trains to lessen the dependency on private vehicles and reduce traffic congestion. The annual ridership of Sydney trains is nearly 135 million.
|Revolutionary Transport Mode
|London’s famous Tube carries over 1 billion passengers annually
|The Paris Metro is the second busiest metro system in Europe
|The Sydney Metro is the first fully automated metro rail system in Australia
What are the Modes of Public Transportation?
There are three main modes of transportation: land, water, and air.
- Land Transportation: The movement of objects or someone from one place to another place on land is land transportation—for example, bicycle, bus, car, trains, and trolleys/trams.
- Water transportation: The movement of objects or someone from one place to another via water is water transportation—for example, boats, submarines, ships, and water taxi
- Air transportation: Air transportation is transporting people or things by air—for example, hot air balloons, airplanes, helicopters, spacecraft, and satellites.
Types of Public Transport
Bus: Buses are the oldest form of land transportation which facilitates the movement of passengers between cities and remote locations, for example-single-decker buses, double-decker buses, air-conditioned buses, minibusses, coach/motor buses, etc.
Train: Trains run across the country and help transport passengers to distant places, for example-local trains, light rail, metro trains, monorails, bullet trains, trolleys or trams, etc.
Taxi: A taxi is ideal for on-demand and door-to-door service where other transportation modes are not feasible. For example- regional taxis, AC taxis, rental taxis, etc.
Ships/Boats: Ships and boats are convenient water transit connecting continents, islands, and neighboring locations. For example- ferries, passenger ships, and cruise ships.
Airplane: An airplane is a convenient way to travel quickly over long distances. However, Other types of air transportation include aircraft, airplanes, and helicopters.
- Public transportation enhances opportunity and productivity by increasing labor, capital, and economic growth.
- The Public transportation system creates employment opportunities such as driver, conductor, Ticket Checker (TC), ETC.
- Public transport increases the land value.
- Public transportation reduces carbon emissions and likewise mitigates climate change.
- It reduces traffic congestion and travel time, and stress levels for commuters.
- Public transportation can be accessed by anyone regardless of income level.
- It makes it easier to access employment, education, and healthcare services.
- Public transportation is safer and also reduces the incidence of accidents by 90%
- Public transport reduces air pollution, global warming, and health problems caused by air pollution
- Transit improves physical fitness as commuters walk to and from bus stops and railway stations.
- It encourages social interaction with commuters, enhancing mental health and reducing loneliness.
- Public transportation reduces stress.
Need to Improve Accessibility
Public transport should be made accessible and also convenient to every citizen. The government should improve the accessibility of the public transit system, particularly for people with disabilities, to ensure equal access. However, this can include wheelchair ramps, audio announcements, signage, and wayfinding.
Challenges and Limitations
- Peak-hour crowding
- Traffic congestion
- Inadequate service during off-peak hours, holidays, and weekends
- High infrastructure maintenance cost
- Increased risk of infectious diseases
- Long waiting times during peak hours
Future of Public Transport
- Better connectivity will lower the cost of transportation.
- As a result of advanced technology, driverless vehicles, and smart ticketing services are becoming more popular. Smart ticketing systems allow people to buy tickets online, thus, eliminating the need for long queues at ticket counters.
- In addition, hydrogen, electric, and autonomous vehicles may replace traditional buses and trains and reduce carbon emissions.
- Soon on-demand online transport services like Ola and Uber will likely become more widespread. However, public transport will remain important to people’s mobility needs in cities and towns.
Public transport is an important part of our transportation systems, but there is a need for new technologies and innovations to make it more effective and sustainable. In addition to the history, benefits, and mode of transportation, you will also learn the advantages and disadvantages of Public Transport in this article.
Lastly, Individuals, governments, and communities can make informed decisions to make public transportation more effective and sustainable in densely populated areas.
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