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Public transport good for ecology and economy

Petrol tax revenues should drive public transport and the economy Keystone

A study published on Monday says up to 14,000 new jobs could be created in Switzerland over the next 20 years if more is done to promote public transport.

This content was published on January 9, 2006 - 15:51

The author of the report recommends that a third of the revenue from the current petrol tax should be used to subsidise new public transport infrastructure, amounting to SFr1.25 billion ($980 million) a year.

Sponsored by the pro-public transport organisation, umverkehR (Verkehr=traffic), the study found that thousands of new jobs would be created since public transport companies require large workforces.

The number of people employed in the automobile branch, including petrol stations and road works, would stagnate, it added, but this would be more than made up for by the new positions created in the public transport sector.

The move would also contribute to a significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, and lead to less traffic congestion.

Other sectors benefit

If more people were to take the train, bus or bicycle, they would save money which they would then be willing to spend on other needs, which means other sectors of the economy would benefit from the promotion of public transport.

The president of umverkehR, Christian Harb, said the study proved that protecting the environment was not as bad for the economy as has often been propagated.

A report published last year outlined a series of additional infrastructure projects which would cost about a third of the annual revenue on petrol tax.

Harb said upgrading urban rail services in Switzerland's three largest cities, Zurich, Geneva and Basel, was a top priority.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

According to the Swiss Transport and Environment Association, each resident travels 17,400km a year.
The Swiss use their cars for 70% of their activities away from home, or more than half of every kilometre travelled.
44% of their journeys are made for leisure activities.
Commuter traffic has increased by 41% over the past 30 years.
There are 117 cars in Switzerland for every 100 homes.

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In brief

The organisation, umverkehR, has 9,000 members, most of whom reside in Switzerland.

It has offices in Zurich and Geneva.

It was founded to combat the dominance of motorised individual traffic and air transport, supporting innovative technologies to decrease the strain on the environment while improving mobility.

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