Public transport (public transportation in the United States) is the transport of passengers. Passengers don’t need their own cars or other vehicles. Most public transport lets many people travel at the same time.
Ships have carried passengers since prehistoric times. Early public transport by land became important in some places in western Europe in the early 19th century. Around 1826 horsedrawn omnibuses operated in Nantes, France. Omnibuses were carts with seats for passengers to sit. About the same time, railroads began carrying passengers between towns in England. Ferries (public boats) also became bigger and more numerous then.
The main vehicles for public transport are buses, trolleybuses, trams and trains. Trams were first used in the late 1860s and used to be pulled by horses. Now trams are electric and run on a line of cable. Buses drive on the road, like cars do. Trolleybuses are like buses, but they use electricity from two wires above the road. Trains run on a track and are very fast. Many places
use trams and trains as a form of public transport.
A Tram in Melbourne, Australia
Many people who do not have cars use buses, trolleybuses, trams to go places near their house, and they use trains to go places far away. Long distance transport is usually by airline or train or other public transport. Local transport is more often private.
When using public transport people may need a ticket or card to be able to get on. On trams they get a ticket that they put in a machine and it tells them when their ticket runs out. On buses and trolleybuses they buy their ticket from the driver and put it into a machine, and on trains they use a ticket to get onto their train. A timetable tells them when they come, since they can only go when and where the transport is going.
Public transport is also good for the environment. When many people use the same vehicle, fewer cars are on the road. Fewer cars make less pollution. Cost is low, because it is very cheap to catch public transport every day, which is why even people who own a car often use public transport.
Public transportation comes in many forms:
Road[change | change source]
Rail[change | change source]
Water[change | change source]
Air[change | change source]
Sloped or vertical[change | change source]
Some of these types are often not for use by the general public, e.g. elevators in offices and apartment buildings, buses for personnel or school children, etc.
Emerging technologies[change | change source]
Stations are an important aspect of any public transportation system. Specific types include:
In addition one can get on or off of a taxi at any road where stopping is allowed. Some fixed-route buses allow getting on and off at suitable unmarked locations along that route, typically called a hail-and-ride section.