7. How will passenger needs and expectations change in the future, and how will these aspects influence the design of public and passenger transport services in 2045?
So in terms of needs, there will be fewer needs to travel – point blank – because more things will be brought to the consumer, because the potential traveler can do more via audio and video conference. I think public transport will scale back, so it will be focused on the markets where it’s actually, I dare say profitable, to operate public transport services. So where the service is not at least break even, it will be shut down.
While there might be some subsidy, I don’t think the subsidy will have to be very large. That is, even if it’s not officially profitable – it could be profitable if it adjusted fares. For instance, today public transport in New York isn’t profitable, but it could be if it just raised its fares. It chooses not to. There would be a few services that are like that, and a lot that aren’t.
Also the cost structure will go down, if a city has automated its transit services, it will have lower labour costs in general, so hopefully that will help the lower the break even point. Electricity should be cheaper than fuel by that point in the future.