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Public transport
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Public transport

Public transport comprises all transport systems in which the passengers do not travel in their own vehicles. It is called public transit or mass transit in the U.S.A and Canada. While it is generally taken to mean rail and bus services, wider definitions would include scheduled airline services, ferries, taxicab services etc. — any system that transports members of the general public.

The term rapid transit refers to fast public transport in and around cities, such as metro systems.

Public transport can be faster than other modes of travel; prime examples are in cities where road congestion can be avoided, and for long distance travel where much higher speeds are possible than are permitted on roads.

Table of contents
1 Forms of public transport (in the broad sense)
2 Nodes and stops
3 Ticket systems
4 Funding
5 Public transport as a sleeping place
6 History
7 See also
8 External link

Forms of public transport (in the broad sense)

Some of these types are often not for use by the general public, e.g. elevators in offices and apartment buildings, buses for personnel or school children, freight trains, etc.

Nodes and stops

In addition one can alight from and usually board a taxi at any road where stopping is allowed. Some fixed route buses allow getting on and off at suitable unmarked locations along that route, typically called a hail-and-ride section.

Ticket systems

(See also fare).

Special tickets include: Sometimes public transport is free, and thus no tickets are needed, such as in Hasselt in Belgium.


Funding for public transport systems differ widely, from systems which are run as unsubsidised commercial enterprises to systems that are free of charge:

Other transportation services may be commercial, but receive benefits from the government compared to a normal company, e.g.,

One reason many cities spend large sums on their public transport systems is that heavy automobile traffic congests city streets and causes air pollution. It is believed that well maintained, high volume public transport systems alleviate this. Many complex factors affect the outcome of spendings in public transport, so success in reducing car traffic is not always assured.

Another reason for subsidies for public transit are the provision of mobility to those who cannot afford or are physically incapable of using an automobile and those who reject its use on environmental or safety grounds.

Public transport as a sleeping place

Public transport and its terminal buildings are sometimes used by homeless people and budget tourists as a sleeping place. This can vary from the tourist who travels on purpose at night in order to sleep while travelling and dispense with the cost of a hotel, to people for whom the 'sleeping accommodation' is the purpose, and the displacement of the vehicle a somewhat inconvenient irrelevance.

For the latter a key requirement is that travelling through the night costs less than a nearby hotel. This may especially be the case with a rail or bus pass.

One example is the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) bus route 22 [1], dubbed 'Hotel 22', between Palo Alto, California and San Jose, California, (Silicon Valley), in the United States. A pass for 24 hours costs 4 dollars and one for a month 45 dollars, much less than a hotel, house or apartment.

Another example are the Interurban rail services operated by CityRail out of Sydney, Australia. Fairly comfortable trains operate as moving accommodation between Sydney and Lithgow or Newcastle during the night, trips of approximately 2˝ hours. Age, Disability and Sole Parent pensioner excursion fares are $3.30 and $2.20 (Australian Dollars) for an all day ticket.

Wealthier commuters from the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and South Coast also commute to well paying jobs in Sydney on CityRail Interurban rail services, and are often known for sleeping on services during the morning peak to compensate for the early rise. It is customary not to speak on such services, to give evil stares to people who (knowingly or otherwise) use their voice above the slightest whisper without moving into the vestibule, and to give even filthier looks to any train guard who dares to use the public address system when disembarking from such services.


Some historic forms of public transport are the horse-drawn boat and the stagecoach.

See also

External link