The third day of the I Symposium of the Mobility Observatory organized by EL ESPAÑOL and Invertia has concluded with a round table on the new paradigm of metropolitan transport and European funds.
Have participated in it Miguel Ruiz, president of the Association of Urban and Metropolitan Transport (ATUC); Gerardo Lertxundi, CEO of Metropolitan Transport of Barcelona (TMB); Silvia Roldan, CEO of Metro de Madrid; Y Carlos Acha, Director of Operations and Chief Digital Officer of Alsa. Has acted like moderator Ignacio González-Posada, Director of Acquisition and Acceptance of MasterCard Spain.
All the speakers have agreed on the need to launch a security message to regain the trust of users lost since the first wave of the pandemic, which has had a hard impact on their bottom line.
The CEO of Metro de Madrid, Silvia Roldan, recalled that “public transport has been the guarantor of mobility during the pandemic.” At present, he has admitted that “demand has fallen by 50%”, Which is why the sector faces two major challenges: recovering the trust of users and being a lever to drive investments from European funds to reactivate the sector.
The CEO of TMB, Gerardo Lertxundi, has highlighted that this loss of demand “is a drama for our societies and also for the environment”. “For the good of all -has influenced-to warn this situation is one of the great challenges, the bet einversion by public transport”.
The loss of demand has had a direct impact on the balance sheets of these companies. Hence, the president of the Association of Urban and Metropolitan Transport (ATUC), Miguel Ruiz, has stated that “the short-term challenge is financing.” “We have to provide service, and we are doing it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the same costs but with hardly any operating income,” he assured.
“We are going to end the year with significant losses and we have to see how to continue working and paying payroll next year ”, said Miguel Ruiz. From there, other challenges will come, but “tomorrow’s problem is financing”.
In the case of long-distance buses, the decrease in demand has reached 85%. That is why the Director of Operations and Chief Digital Officer of Alsa, Carlos Acha, has stated that “the first thing is to contain the bleeding”. “The main challenge is to regain confidence; it is critical ”, he asserted.
However, he has pointed out that “If we had challenges before, now they are increased by the enormous changes in the simple way of traveling”. “We have an obligation to answer these questions”, where European funds represent a “huge opportunity”, declared Carlos Acha.
The arrival of recovery funds from the European Union are seen by the sector as an opportunity to face its transformation, not only to renew its fleets with more efficient trains or buses.
Gerardo Lertxundi has assured that the public transport sector “we are an ideal candidate to host these projects”. “Of course, countercyclical investments will be levers to get out of the crisis”, has indicated Silvia Roldán.
Some of the major tractor projects in which the public transport sector is working are hydrogen and the energy transformation towards sustainability and the fight against climate change. “Public transport is a fundamental pillar of sustainable cities and sustainability”, Stated the general director of Metro de Madrid.
In the field of hydrogen, Miguel Ruiz stressed that Spain can be a “world spearhead”. “We have to take advantage of this momentum to be leaders in the world”, Gerardo Lertxundi has deepened.