Call for better mobile connectivity as passengers return to public transport

BAI Communications

Thursday, 02 December, 2021


Call for better mobile connectivity as passengers return to public transport

Post-pandemic public transport passengers indicated record levels of support for government investments to make transport safer.

BAI Communications published a white paper report revealing an intensified need for continuous connectivity on public transport systems amid the global COVID-19 recovery. In 2021, global public transport passengers indicated record levels of support for government investments in wireless and fibre network infrastructure (93%), 5G networks (89%) and technology applications and services designed to create a safer and a more connected journey.

The connectivity outlook report highlights findings from a recent study commissioned by BAI, which surveyed more than 2500 rail, subway, light rail, bus and ferry transport passengers across five major cities: New York, Sydney, Toronto, Hong Kong and London. In its third year, this report indicates that passengers want three core things: improved safety and cleanliness, advanced technology to support high-quality connectivity on-the-go, and increased spending on communications infrastructure to improve the overall transport experience.

Among the top findings:

  • Just over half (51%) of passengers say they would take public transport more if it were safer, a significant jump from 42% in 2020.
  • 68% of passengers would like to see connectivity-related safety features in the public transport system.
  • 43% of passengers increased their use of public transport thanks to safety and public health improvements.
     

Public transport systems are increasingly expected to provide a seamless and connected experience for passengers, a fact that has only intensified in the aftermath of COVID-19. From stronger Wi-Fi signals to enable remote work during commutes, to contactless booking and payment applications and services, public transport users want better technologies to enhance their trips.

Additionally, passengers in all cities noted an increased desire in 2021 to use apps to alert them to environmental conditions along the commute, such as temperature and pollution levels, as well as emergencies. They are also not opposed to their anonymised data being used to personalise their experience and improve transport service overall:

  • 91% of passengers think seamless mobile coverage above and below ground is a feature of a world-class city.
  • 83% are comfortable with their anonymised data being used to improve public transport systems.
  • 91% are comfortable with their data being used to deliver customised alerts about service changes, disruptions or delays.
     

BAI’s research suggests that passengers recognise the critical role of transport networks as an enabler of connectivity across cities and increasingly support government spending toward improvements. Most passengers (93%) support government investment in new and reliable wireless and fibre networks for transport. Further, 89% would support their city investing in a 5G network, up from 83% in 2020. 49% would pay more for public transport that offered uninterrupted mobile coverage and high-speed internet across the entire trip — a consecutive increase during the past three years.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/VK Studio

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