Copenhagen’s public transportation gaining followers

Citycirkel-electric-busesFor the first time in years, Copenhagen’s public transport network has experienced an increase in passengers. This is a sharp turnaround from the previous six years in which passenger numbers steadily dropped. But the Copenhagen Post reports that in 2008 there were an impressive 6.2 million more passengers using the capital’s public transport than in 2007.

The good news is a welcome result for the Public Transport Authority (PTA) considering the city spent more than 25 billion kroner on its bus, train and Metro networks between 2002 and 2007. Lars Barfoed, the Transport Minister, told the Berlingske Tidende newspaper that the 2.4 percent increase in customers is just the beginning of the city’s return on its investment; and that there is more to come.

“Right now we’ve got the Metro Cityring construction underway and we’re also talking about expanding the S-train network by adding more rail sections for passing. On top of that we’re putting 1.5 billion kroner into public transport on the Ring 3 Motorway,” said Barfoed.

The PTA admits, however, that there’s still a lot to do if the city’s network is to continue expanding. The agency claims the main reason for the dramatic slump in passengers over the last six years was that the various transport companies were more focused on winning customers than creating a harmonious public transport network.

Copenhagen MPs are now threatening to implement sweeping changes to the system if these individual private companies don’t start cooperating to make the improvements needed.

“The Metro, buses and S-trains have to co-operate sensibly, and we have to ensure that people get harmonised information, for example regarding passengers transferring from one transport form to another,” commented Barfoed.