Austerity in public transport in Europe: the influence of governance

The financial crisis has put pressure on government budgets across Europe. The expectation is that this also has affected public transport budgets in metropolitan areas. This article looks at five cases of metropolitan public transport to see to what extent this is the case. Multi-level governance and fiscal federalism explain the rather surprising outcome. This article is aimed to be a first step into a better understanding of the effect of governance in public transport in a broad sense. It develops the understanding of how the organizational context influences those funding decisions and the related outcome in terms of public transport services provided and passengers transported. The article shows that the effect of budget pressure was varied over the five cases depending on governance in those cases and overall can be characterized as limited. Funding and supply generally kept growing, despite the pressure put on budgets by the financial crisis.