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Better bus and coach statistics for better policy-making

Date

17 Jun 2009

Sections

Transport

UNECE’s decision to collect bus and coach statistics through the joint UNECE, ITF and EUROSTAT questionnaire will considerably contribute to informed policy making.

Geneva – The IRU welcomes the decision taken today by the Working Party on Transport Statistics (WP.6) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), to approve the Handbook on transport statistics by bus and coach and launch data collection on bus and coach transport through the UNECE/ITF/EUROSTAT questionnaire.

IRU Vice President and President of the IRU Passenger Transport Council, Graham Smith, commented, “This is an important initiative since policy and business decision makers will, for the first time, dispose of official comparable statistics on bus and coach transport, allowing political and business decisions to be based on facts.”

According to Governmental and UNECE experts, as highlighted in the UNECE Handbook, “Passenger transport by bus and coach is widely considered to be among the safest, most environmentally-friendly and affordable modes of motorised transport. It helps fighting congestion and other negative effects of transport.” However, “bus and coach can be described as ‘the forgotten mode of transport’. It is therefore not surprising that it gets relatively little attention from policy makers and transport planners…Data on occasional transport services (coach tourism) are mostly completely missing. The problem is even more acute at international level …, where hardly any data are available.”

Such harmonised and comparable official data will allow for a genuine impact analysis of proposed policy measures, something which was severely missing even from recent EU policy proposals (rights of passengers in bus and coach in the EU) and decisions (removal of the 12-day derogation for coach tourism). This will also help generate an informed debate on environmental zones, which are spreading out in cities around the world, and facilitate the conclusion of a multilateral agreement on regular bus and coach lines (OmniBUS), as proposed by the IRU in October 2008.

Last but not least, this data collection will enable policy decision-makers at all levels to acknowledge from statistical facts and figures, a reality the industry has been claiming for decades, namely that collective bus and coach transport is the safest, most environmentally-friendly and most affordable means of passenger land transport - a genuine mobility and policy choice of the future.

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