Public transport

New York City Subway, the world's largest rapid transit system by number of stations
Trolza trolleybus in Moscow – operating the world's largest trolleybus system
Shanghai Metro is the largest rapid transit system in the world by route length.

Public transport (also known as public transportation, public transit, or mass transit) is transport of passengers by group travel systems available for use by the general public, typically managed on a schedule, operated on established routes, and that charge a posted fee for each trip.[1][2][3] Examples of public transport include city buses, trolleybuses, trams (or light rail) and passenger trains, rapid transit (metro/subway/underground, etc.) and ferries. Public transport between cities is dominated by airlines, coaches, and intercity rail. High-speed rail networks are being developed in many parts of the world.

Most public transport systems run along fixed routes with set embarkation/disembarkation points to a prearranged timetable, with the most frequent services running to a headway (e.g.: "every 15 minutes" as opposed to being scheduled for any specific time of the day). However, most public transport trips include other modes of travel, such as passengers walking or catching bus services to access train stations.[4] Share taxis offer on-demand services in many parts of the world, which may compete with fixed public transport lines, or compliment them, by bringing passengers to interchanges. Paratransit is sometimes used in areas of low demand and for people who need a door-to-door service.[5]

Urban public transit differs distinctly among Asia, North America, and Europe. In Asia, profit-driven, privately-owned and publicly traded mass transit and real estate conglomerates predominantly operate public transit systems [6][7] In North America, municipal transit authorities most commonly run mass transit operations. In Europe, both state-owned and private companies predominantly operate mass transit systems, Public transport services can be profit-driven by use of pay-by-the-distance fares or funded by government subsidies in which flat rate fares are charged to each passenger. Services can be fully profitable through high usership numbers and high farebox recovery ratios, or can be regulated and possibly subsidised from local or national tax revenue. Fully subsidised, free of charge services operate in some towns and cities.

For geographical, historical and economic reasons, differences exist internationally regarding use and extent of public transport. While countries in the Old World tend to have extensive and frequent systems serving their old and dense cities, many cities of the New World have more sprawl and much less comprehensive public transport. The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) is the international network for public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes and the public transport supply and service industry. It has 3,400 members from 92 countries from all over the globe.


Early trolley car in Newton, Massachusetts

Conveyances designed for public hire are as old as the first ferries, and the earliest public transport was water transport: on land people walked (sometimes in groups and on pilgrimages, as noted in sources such as the Bible and The Canterbury Tales) or (at least in Eurasia and Africa) rode an animal.[8] Ferries appear in Greek mythology—corpses in ancient Greece were buried with a coin underneath their tongue to pay the ferryman Charon to take them to Hades.[9]

Some historical forms of public transport include the stagecoach, traveling a fixed route between coaching inns, and the horse-drawn boat carrying paying passengers, which was a feature of European canals from their 17th-century origins. The canal itself as a form of infrastructure dates back to antiquity – ancient Egyptians certainly used a canal for freight transportation to bypass the Aswan cataract – and the Chinese also built canals for water transportation as far back as the Warring States period[10] which began in the 5th century BCE. Whether or not those canals were used for for-hire public transport remains unknown; the Grand Canal in China (begun in 486 BCE) served primarily for shipping grain.

The omnibus, the first organized public transit system within a city, appears to have originated in Paris, France, in 1662,[11] although the service in question failed a few months after its founder, Blaise Pascal, died in August 1662; omnibuses are next known to have appeared in Nantes, France, in 1826. The omnibus was introduced to London in July 1829.[12]

The first passenger horse-drawn railway opened in 1806: it ran between Swansea and Mumbles in southwest Wales in the United Kingdom.[13] In 1825 George Stephenson built the Locomotion for the Stockton and Darlington Railway in northeast England, the first public steam railway in the world.

The first successful electric streetcar was built for 12 miles of track for the Union Passenger Railway in Richmond, Virginia in 1888. Electric streetcars could carry heavier passenger loads than predecessors, which reduced fares and stimulated greater transit use. Two years after the Richmond success, over thirty two thousand electric streetcars were operating in America. Electric streetcars also paved the way for the first subway system in America. Before electric streetcars, steam powered subways were considered. However, most people believed that riders would avoid the smoke filled subway tunnels from the steam engines. In 1894, Boston built the first subway in the United States, an electric streetcar line in a 1.5 mile tunnel under Tremont Street’s retail district. Other cities such as New York quickly followed, constructing hundreds of miles of subway in the following decades.[14]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: İctimai nəqliyyat
বাংলা: গণপরিবহন
Bân-lâm-gú: Kong-kiōng ūn-su
한국어: 대중교통
hrvatski: Javni prijevoz
Bahasa Indonesia: Transportasi umum
Bahasa Melayu: Pengangkutan awam
Nederlands: Openbaar vervoer
norsk nynorsk: Kollektivtransport
Simple English: Public transport
slovenščina: Javni prevoz
српски / srpski: Јавни превоз
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Javni prijevoz
Türkçe: Toplu ulaşım
Tiếng Việt: Giao thông công cộng
West-Vlams: Oopnboar vervoer
吴语: 公共交通
粵語: 公共交通
中文: 公共交通