‘It takes at least two to tango’

  • UITP is pleased to announce Laurent Ledoux, CEO, Equis, as the keynote speaker for our 2018 New Year Reception, on 25 January, Brussels

UITP Reception_Ledoux_cover

“There are various approaches to rethinking and networking public transport systems,” says Mr Ledoux (on stage above). “These include the visions of city mayors, large consultation processes, or like in Dubai where the authority [PTA] is also the operator [PTO]; perhaps not everyone agrees with the latter model, but it works for them.

“Yet in many countries, the way public transport is administered still isn’t working.”

A good starting point for reviewing governance, he suggests, is to tackle the ‘fears’ of all the actors (operators, authorities, transport ministers, decision-makers…) involved.

‘Fears? What fears? He describes them as conditions, namely:

– myopia, whereby short-term thinking results in underinvestment;

– surdity/not listening; and

– amnesia/not learning from experiences of the past.

“All lead to short-term pragmatism and thinking, to the illusion of control, the creation of silos, and hubris.”


To improve governance, one fear buster, suggests our speaker, is openness.

Opening eyes and minds may take various forms, such as regular training, learning together about collective tools and collective intelligence (CI, shared or group intelligence that emerges from collaboration), and more bonding between policy-makers, operators, ministers, and the like.

Joint building of pressure-cooker scenarios, which serves to address conflict effectively by anticipating and strategising, is another must, reckons Mr Ledoux. As is structured knowledge management for common analysis.

A 085Tri-sector exposure also helps open doors by bridging the business, non-profit, and government realms. Here he referred to Alain Flausch, UITP secretary general from 2012-2017, as a good example of someone coming to public transport from other fields to shake up the status quo.

Flausch_Jan 2018

Mr Flausch (photo above) was CEO of the STIB (Brussels public transport operator) from 2000 to 2011, prior to which he was active as a top manager in telecoms and the chemical industry, and a practising attorney at the Brussels Bar during the 70s.

“All these approaches to openness will help develop a common language,” sums up Mr Ledoux.

Inclusion, the second of our speaker’s proposed fear busters should ensure everyone in public transport is actively included through clearly defined roles, unambiguous legal frameworks  “legislation is often badly written”  efficient decision-making processes, and rapid arbitration capacities.

“If we do this [inclusion] it will increase respect between the different actors,” he says.

Control through greater independence, Mr Ledoux’s third fear buster,  implies aspects like prices, data, funding, and the ability of operators to carry out trials quicker “all of which will enable the development of expertise to allow public transport to flourish.”

Public Transport Trends 2017


Cover photo: Flickr cc – Jenny Mealing



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