Meanwhile in Sweden…

Boxes from IKEA on a trolley

IKEA is among the companies supporting Sweden's ambition to double the market share of public transport

Interesting developments in Sweden where a package of reforms to the way public transport is run has been tied to a doubling of public transport’s market share. An ambitious goal by any standards.

The plan (as I understand it) is to set up new PTE-style regional transport authorities who will take responsibility for local public transport provision. Where services are not specified private companies will be able to offer services on a commercial basis. In some ways the reverse of the approach in GB outside London which is that the local transport authorities specify services where there is no commercial provision.

It will be interesting to see how the Swedish approach works in practice as there’s clearly scope for a commercial operator to destabalise a specified network through attacking the busiest routes. Although perhaps they don’t behave in such beastly ways in Sweden! Also it could be that the greatest scope for new services is new inter-urban routes?

The collective push by national government, transport authorities and commercial companies is assisted by some hefty infrastructure works in the largest urban areas as well as some innovative marketing initiatives. For example in Gothenburg 50,000 committed car commuters were given a fortnight’s free travel on public transport as an alternative. And that mighty symbol of Sweden – IKEA – offers a reduction on home deliveries for those who turn up at their stores by public transport.

The doubling concept also ties in with the UITP’s PT x 2 campaign giving that campaign a shot in the arm in the process.

There’s more on the plan on this English language version of the Swedish Doubling Project’s website

The short film is worth watching.

Jonathan Bray