With his involvement as UITP president Hendy meets with transportation leaders from throughout the world and he said, “I’m very interested that across the world there are many places which have really not felt the need for advocacy for public transport until now.
“The economic situation is quite difficult in many, many cities and loads of people are starting to have to find ways of arguing for increased capital funding for projects. From what I know of the U.S. that’s true.
“People are searching for ways of better advocacy for the money they need to keep their systems running and expand them.”
In terms of his presidency of the UITP, Hendy said advocacy of public transport is very important. “More than 50 percent of the population of the world now lives in the city and that number is rising,” he said. “Every city is getting more crowded. Every city needs public transportation in order to grow the economy and provide social cohesion and access to health and education and those sorts of things.”
“Usually across the world a lot of the other funding for public transportation comes from city funding or regional funding but the organization structures are different because the political history of the countries is different,” Hendy said.
For TfL, the main funding comes from fares and other income and grants from the national government. In Britain, Hendy said mayors have virtually no power to raise local taxation. “Because of that we are very experienced at arguing with national government for funding for transit schemes and that’s one of the things that I think is something to be shared in my presidency.”
TfL recently received a six-year capital funding settlement through 2015 but only a one-year revenue funding settlement at this time.
One of the biggest challenges Hendy said they’re facing is population growth. “While it’s nothing like the population growth in Third World cities, it’s still very considerable.”
TfL is also tackling funding to reduce the government subsidy while having to keep up with some of the things today that riders demand in an era when people carry mobile devices and expect more information and communication along with the demand for mobility.
“They’re not unique challenges to London; they’re pretty formidable in a city of 8-1/2 million people,” Hendy said about the issues.
He said one of the great lessons he’s learned, a lesson from the UITP, is, “… there is an awful lot to learn between different places.
“While we all have to carry on with the jobs we’ve got every day, actually sharing experiences across cities and across national boundaries is a really useful thing to do.”