The third year of the pandemic begins with Covid-19 under control and with concrete expectations of economic recovery, despite the negative impacts of Ukraine conflict. For Brazilian public transport, the scenario is still one of great challenges: more than a hundred transport systems were impacted by the partial or total interruption of their operations during the pandemic period, as a result of the deep crisis that the industry is still going through and which has caused losses of the magnitude of one billion Brazilian reais a month at the national level. Losses that persist, as the recovery in demand, observed in the last year, has not yet managed to reach pre-Covid-19 levels—and perhaps never will.
On the other hand, the pandemic has also shown many lessons learned, the main one being the importance of engaging local government in ensuring the continuity of services. Public subsidies, a widespread practice in other countries, were for the first time, applied on a significant scale in Brazilian public transport: at least 108 cities contributed with emergency aid in different formats for their respective public transport systems, a measure that played a fundamental role in preventing the downfall and avoiding the worst.
The separation of the public or service usage fare, paid by the passenger, from the compensation or technical fare, which pays for services, with the difference being covered by the government, is a mechanism set forth in the National Urban Mobility Policy until then seldomly used, but which proved to be the most effective to maintain the economic and financial balance of the operating contracts, improve the quality of public transport and, at the same time, reduce the burden of the fare for users. But adopting this solution on a large scale depends on new institutional and legal arrangements, new forms of contracting and financing, as well as new sources of extra-fare resources, so that the government can obtain the necessary means to fulfill its constitutional obligations and guarantee the right to come and go for the whole of society.
These are some of the topics covered in the 35th edition of the NTU National Seminar, which this year will debate the best ways to recover lost demand and make better quality public transport possible, at a lower cost to the paying passenger's wallet, for the benefit of the vast majority of the population that depends on this essential service the most for urban mobility.
The seminar will also save some room for recent technologies, with the COLETIVO, the NTU Urban Mobility Innovation Program, and panels on news, launches and trends in vehicle technologies, fuels, intelligent transport systems (ITS) and payment methods. One of the highlights is the reduction of emissions, with the arrival in Brazil of the new Euro 6 engines, starting in 2023, and the next steps towards the adoption of a new energy matrix for the industry, and the complete decarbonization of urban buses in the future. Complex themes, which have been awakening the interest of public administrators, operators and rolling stock suppliers, who respond to society's desires for more sustainable transport, from an environmental point of view—whose feasibility depends on the engagement of all stakeholders, and by adopting a new set of broad and well-coordinated public policies.
The NTU National Seminar 2022 is held in parallel to the LAT.BUS Transpúblico, the Latin American Transport Tradeshow, the largest urban mobility event in Latin America, bringing together all segments, namely urban collective transport, road and charter transport in Brazil and the region. ABRATI (Brazilian Association of Passenger Land Transportation Companies), ANTTUR (Brazilian Association of Tourism and Charter Transportation Companies), FRESP (São Paulo State Charter Passenger Transportation Company Federation) and UITP (International Association of Public Transport) complete the line-up of content schedule for the third day of the event.