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How to make public transport green and fair? Tackling climate change and promoting accessibility through public transport fare policies

Tainá Bittencourt



Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 20
National Front of Mayors
Equitable urban futures
NE 160


The climate agenda brings the urgency of prioritizing and using cleaner and more sustainable modes of transport and highlights the need to make public transport more competitive and attractive to the entire population, especially for people who currently travel by private cars in high-income countries from North America and Europe. However, another fundamental agenda involves the reduction of social and urban inequalities that manifest themselves in different dimensions and contexts, particularly in low income countries from Latin American, African and Asian.

The congestion problems faced by those who own a car become a minor issue as a large part of the population do not have access to affordable, reliable and safe public transport systems. Therefore, an important challenge faced by cities is how to make the global agendas for reducing global emissions and inequalities compatible through comprehensive and effective public policies. On the one hand, making public transportation attractive to the middle and upper classes to the point of promoting modal shift and reducing the use of private cars means increasing the quality of public transport service by increasing the cost of transit operation and the adoption of financial incentives aimed at those specific groups. On the other hand, making the service accessible to the low-income population means reducing fare prices and ensuring that the most vulnerable groups have access to transport.

In Bogotá, for example, the fare subsidy program aimed at the low-income population caused the number of trips by beneficiaries to increase by 56%. In the Metropolitan Area of ​​​​Barcelona, ​​fare benefits include not only the low-income population, but also citizens who dispose of their polluting cars to use public transport. Unlike Bogotá and Barcelona, ​​which direct important resources to specific groups of the population, in the metropolitan region of Buenos Aires, local, regional and national public authorities directly subsidize 72% of the cost of the public transport system, causing the fare to be reduced for all users. In Brazil, collective public transport in most cities is fully funded by the farebox and fare benefits are predominantly aimed at the elderly and students, contributing very little to modal shift or social inclusion.

The event will promote the exchange of experience between representatives of municipalities in Latin America and Europe in order to highlight the social and climatic impacts of different fare policies and mature the debate about the incorporation of different agendas in urban and transport planning. The discussion of international experiences is of special importance for the Brazilian context, given the current debate on a new regulatory framework for public transportation in the country, which seeks to incorporate innovative and successful policies.


The main objective of the event is to promote the dialogue of different international experiences and contribute to the maturing of a funding model that incorporates fair and sustainable fare policies.

The specific objectives are:

- Give visibility to equitable and sustainable transport policies implemented in different global contexts through the exchange of experiences

- Discuss models of fare subsidies and their impacts on modal shift and access to transport, contributing to their adaptation and implementation in accordance with sustainable development objectives

- Promote closer ties between public authorities and academia, encouraging the design of evidence-based solutions that prioritize social and environmental justice

Session speakers

Ms. Tainá Bittencourt
Urban Mobility Specialist
National Front of Mayors
Mr. Paolo Ciccarelli
Head of Unit Sustainable Transport and Urban Development, Directorate General for International Partnerships
European Commission
Mr. Orion Illa
Director of international cooperation of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona
Metropolitan Area of Barcelona
Ms. Maria Cristina Molina Ladeira
Director of urban mobility of Porto Alegre
Municipality of Porto Alegre
Ms. Ana Wanzeler
Chief of staff of international relations of São Paulo
Municipality of São Paulo