Joint WB-SSATP Note on COVID-19 and Public Transport in Africa

Papers & Notes August 31, 2020 Urban Transport & Mobility Cross-Cutting Issues
Joint WB-SSATP Note on COVID-19 and Public Transport in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to an unprecedented global economic recession and widespread social distress. Despite its late arrival in Sub-Saharan Africa, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly and measures to fight its spread have caused severe economic and social impacts. From aviation to logistics and public transport, COVID-19 has completely upended the transport sector. In fact, public transport has been among the hardest hit industries. Physical distancing and lockdown measures and the subsequent reductions in mobility and vehicle occupancy have resulted in a sharp shortfall of revenues, leading to a deep financial crisis that is threatening the formal and informal public transport sector in most cities.

This note prepared by a team of SSATP and World Bank transport experts discusses several key challenges faced by the transport sector now that countries are gradually lifting lockdowns, including:

  • What mechanisms could help reconcile the requirements for physical distancing and mobility restriction with the financial sustainability of public transport operators?
  • How can Governments support the post-crisis recovery plans of the public transport sector?
  • How will changes in mobility influence the future of urban design and transport modal shares?
  • What are possible solutions that the World Bank Group’s Transport Global Practice could bring to support client countries?


informal transport public transport bus operators urban mobility urban transport authority transport authorities Health
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