Public transport

From ArticleWorld

Public transport is the term used for a communal form of transport. It is also referred to as public transit or mass transit and its wider definition may include all transport other than private transport. This transport is usually supplied by state agencies and is often run at a loss because of governments’ social obligations. Thus, all rail and bus services and even airline, and ferry services will fall under the classification of public transport. Typically, taxicabs are not part of public transport since they do not require sharing of the space which generally happens in a public transport.


The origins of public transport may be traced to the 16th and 17th centuries when people rode what were then known as a coach and four or stagecoaches. This was a type of public transport where people traveled an established route from inn to inn with a change of horses with a fresh set of four taking the place of the worn-out set. The horse drawn boats that operated on canals and were pulled by horses that walked on special towpaths along the canals were a very popular form of public transport in vogue from the mid 17th century to the mid 19th century and are used even now to attract tourists. The horse cars that operated on groove rails were an important part of public transport in America during mid 19th century that almost replaced the omnibuses.

Different modes

Public transport takes many modes.

  1. Road transport: This is the most common form of transport and includes: Buses, share taxis, auto rickshaws, coaches, trolley buses, vanpools etc.
  2. Rail transport: Rail transport takes the load off roads and is very popular in developing countries as a cheap mode of transport for long distance travel. Rail transport includes cable cars, metro, monorail, train, tram, light rail, automated guide way transit, etc.
  3. Water transport: This transport is used very commonly in East Asian countries and in places like Bangkok and Calcutta, waterways are a major means of transporting goods and holding weekly markets. Ferries and water taxis are common examples of this form of travel.
  4. Air transport: Although not the traditional way of public transport, air travel has become very popular in the modern times, especially with airlines introducing reduced and economy fares to cash in on the travel bug that bites young people with little money and a love of adventure. Airplanes and helicopters are examples of this mode of travel.