Will Covid-19 put the public back in public transport? A UK perspective


Roger Vickerman

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, organisation - regulation, organisation - governance


Transport impacts of Covid-19, Public transport, Government funding, Transport planning, United Kingdom


Covid-19 has had a major impact on public transport systems across the world. Public financial support has been needed to maintain services in the face of drastically reduced ridership and adjustment to the need for social distancing. This paper explores the challenge this poses to current methods of delivery of public transport services and argues that a simple return to the status quo is unlikely as public transport adjusts to a new normal of more home working and fear of crowded spaces. In turn this impacts most on the transport disadvantaged. The paper argues that this may spell the end of the prevailing model of a deregulated competitive public transport that has prevailed in the United Kingdom and require a major rethinking of the way to provide an efficient and effective transport system. Such a rethink will depend on understanding the interplay of private and social norms and building public trust.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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