The associations are the International Union of Railways (UIC), the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), the United Cities and Global and Local Governments (UCLG) association, and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

They say exceptional measures including financial support must be adopted by governments and deployed very rapidly to public transport operators to limit the social, economic and financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, ensure the continuity of services during the crisis, and to swiftly resume regular operation once Covid-19 is under control.

“In countries where public transport operators solely rely on passenger revenues, their sheer survival in the short-term is at stake,” the associations warn. “This financial support must also be targeted towards the preservation of jobs and workers’ terms and conditions of employment.

“Similar measures are needed to support the public transport supply industry to get through the crisis, restore production, and make sure citizens keep public transport in their mobility habits. We must keep in mind that passenger transport systems, and the workforce which keep these systems running, are vital to the regular functioning of the economy, these measures would not just support the sector in question but the whole of society.”

The four associations say that passenger transport will be heavily affected in multiple ways. “The impact relates not only to the decrease in farebox revenues (in some cities the reduction in patronage exceeds 90%), and the additional costs needed to disinfect and implement social distancing measures in public transport vehicles and infrastructure, but also to the reduction in industrial and service production and decrease in turnover of the supply industry, with potential consequences on preserving employment in a sector which is in many cases is one of the main, if not the first, employers in cities.”

Click here to read the full statement from the four associations, which includes a list of good practice measures during the pandemic to keep passengers and staff safe.

This follows a similar letter sent last week by the UITP and other like-minded associations to the European Union to urge basic continuity and the survival of public transport despite the coronavirus pandemic.