Public Transport: What Next?

Before Covid-19 transformed the way we live, work, and travel, the future of public transport was looking good. This was particularly so in urban areas, with forecasts from organisations such as the UN predicting up to 68% of the world’s population would be living in urban areas by 2050. Coupled with the decline in the use of cars, the future was looking bright particularly for commuter trains, tubes, trams, and buses.

However, since Covid-19 hit and populations around the world quickly locked down, public transport came to be seen as a major vector for the spread of the illness. With many businesses subsequently questioning the need for large offices and hubs in cities, and some openly talking of having a network of smaller more local offices, the future shape of public transport is in doubt. That being said, from conversations with clients across all sectors, the mood is positive. Whilst most expected growth in cities to slow down over the next couple of years, many are taking comfort from densely populated cities like Hong Kong which has appeared to cope better with the coronavirus than the UK. This is good news for the transport sector and is backed by a survey from Boston Consulting Group, which suggested that the short-term reluctance to use public transport will fade within a few years, just as the fear of flying subsided post-9/11.

Whilst this is certainly positive news, public transport is not quite out of the woods yet. Many companies have seen surprising benefits from the move to remote working, including an unexpected increase in productivity. This in turn has led some to consider a semi-permanent move to employees working from home, or other flexible working. So, whilst in the long-term people may become comfortable using public transport again, the reshaping of the work environment may mean that the rush hour and daily commutes become a thing of the past.

Against this uncertain backdrop we are helping an ever-increasing number of our clients prepare for the future and the ‘new norm’ using experienced interim managers, independent consultants, and making additional, more innovative, hires. Increasingly we are being asked about:

  • Leadership Assessment, Talent Management and Succession Planning to help build a fuller understanding of the capabilities and qualities of internal talent, assess whether they are in the right roles and, long-term, whether they reflect the qualities for the future business model and subsequent succession planning
  • Technology across a wide range of areas, particularly customer experience making it easier for their customers to engage and buy from them
  • Operational and Commercial Planning and Strategy
  • Finance and Strategy with a focus on pricing and ticketing
  • Reviewing, Developing, and Implementing property strategies that meet the needs of the business and customers post Covid-19.

If you would like to confidentially discuss how Norman Broadbent Group could help you overcome both your business or people challenges, please contact Nick Behan on +44 (0) 0207 484 0106 or via