The modern world had gone through tremendous changes that have required people to adjust their lives so that they can be able to survive. Every morning, people have to wake up and attend their work in different places in the private and the public sectors. Others spend their time moving from one place to another as they enjoy the beautiful scenery that is provided by nature. As a result, there is a continuous movement of people from one place to another twenty hours a day, seven days a week. The distance that is covered by people also varies greatly, with some covering just a walking or cycling distance while others cover very long distances that require the use of vehicles, trains, boats, airplanes, etc. While there are various forms of transport that are available to choose from by these people, it is important to understand that they all fall under two categories only, namely public or private transport.
Public transport can be described as the transportation services that are utilized by passengers who fall under the category of the general public. Simply put, public transport is a means of transportation that is at the disposal of the general public and therefore can be used by any person that wishes to do so at a fee. The public transport sector is operated by people or companies that own a fleet of transportation vehicles, and they work by charging a fee that is highly subsidized to their clients, who fall in the categories of the general public. Private transport on the other hand is a form of transportation that makes use of one’s own vehicle or a hired one. The commuters who use private transport have been found to pay high costs for their transport as opposed to public transport that pay subsidized prices for their fare (Hoogma, 2002).
There are various similarities and differences that are associated with public and private forms of transport. To begin with, the first similarity that exists between both public and private forms of transport is that both forms of transport have been found to get people to their destinations. When using any mode of transport, people usually have an aim of moving from one place to another within a specific time frame. In this regard therefore, both public and private forms of transport have been found to serve this purpose effectively since commuters in both instances have been recorded to have reached their destinies.
There is also the issue of charges that one has to pay in order to be able to use the services that are provided by both the public and the private means of transportation. To begin with, it is important for one to have an understanding that in both cases, the people using either the private or the public means of transport have to part with a certain amount of money for them to be able to use the services provided by these transportation means. These charges are nearly fixed with each mode of transport that is chosen. For example, to move from point A to point B, one has to pay a designated amount of money to the public transport provider. This is the same when it comes to private transport. It is important to understand that even if one is using a personal car in moving from point A to point B, one will use an average amount of fuel that has nearly a constant price. While the deviation from the standard amount may be high in private transport, the amount of money that one has to spend on this form of transport is average, and if other factors such as the prices of fuel are left constant, the person who uses private transport will use an amount that is nearly constant on a daily basis (Hoogma, 2002, p.128).
However, there are differences that can be seen between the two modes of transport. To begin with, public form of transport has been found to be relatively cheap as compared to private transport. This is as a result of only one form of cost that is calculated by the transport provider. After paying that price for transport, one is not obligated to pay any charges and instead may request for a refund if he/she does not get to his destination. For example, if one boarded a bus from point A to point B and in the middle of the journey the bus broke down, one will not be required to pay extra charges to repair this bus. Instead, it is the mandate of the company that is providing this service to see to it that it is in a position to provide another bus immediately to transport these passengers to their destination without any delay to avoid a refund of their transport and meeting of other legal costs that may results due to complains launched by these customers (Hoogma, 2002, p.129).
Such privileges are not enjoyed by people who use private means of transport, especially in the case of personal cars. While public transport enjoys the benefits that arise due to rigidity in the change of prices, the use of private transport and especially where one uses his own vehicle as a mode of transport can experience a lot of shifts in the costs that are associated with managing and maintenance of one’s vehicle. In the modern world, the global economic problems have contributed greatly to the rise in fuel prices. Therefore, the costs of moving from one place to another are unpredictable as there is a constant shift in fuel prices on nearly an hourly basis. On the other hand, the fuel costs are not the only costs that are associated with managing of a personal vehicle. Instead, there are other costs that are associated with managing one’s vehicle that also keeps changing on a daily basis. For example, one has to deal with other factors such as engine maintenance, levy fee, packing fee, fee incase of breakdown, etc. For example, if a person’s vehicle broke down in the morning on his way to work, one will have to return to his pocket and repair the car himself. On the other hand, if this person has an insurance cover against breakdown, then premiums paid for such insurance could be very high (European Conference of Ministers of Transport. Economic Research Centre, 2003).
The monetary costs are not the only costs that are involved when one mentions public or private means of transport. Global warming is another cost, that may not have a clearly defined monetary value attached to it, but whose costs are very high that no human being can be able to bear. This is in regard to the amount of carbon emissions that are released to the environment as engines burn their fuel. There are arguments, which are valid in nature that states that the use of private means of transport contributes highly to carbon emissions into the natural environment as compared to public forms of transport. This argument is based on the fact that the amount of carbon emission into the environment by public modes of transport is smaller as compared to private transport since when the total amount of emission from public vehicles is divided by the number of people that are transported in one trip, it gives a small figure of pollution coefficient. However, if the amount of emission from a personal vehicle is divided by the number of occupants, the coefficient obtained is very large, signifying a high carbon emission rate among person cars which represent nearly 95% of the total means of transport that is used under private transport. Therefore, private transport has been found to increase the rate of environmental pollution as compared to public transport (Onursal, Gautam & Gautam, 1997, p.110).
One can also be able to salvage a lot of time when using public forms of transport, as compared to the use of private forms of transport. In a nation such as Britain, personal vehicles use single lane while buses and other public transport were accorded the honor of using more than one lane. In this regard, private means of transport has in most cases been found to be very crowded. The situation is made even worse when one has to search for a parking space since there are a lot of private vehicles with very few parking spaces. This can be avoided by public means of transport that does not require parking (European Conference of Ministers of Transport. Economic Research Centre, 2003, p.9).
It can therefore be said that while both the public and the private modes of transport are able to achieve their purposes by ensuring that the consumers using them are able to get to their destination, there are several factors that emerge that have clearly put a demarcation between them. This demarcation is the one that has enabled the government to form policies that would encourage people to use public transport rather than relying on private means of transport and therefore be able not only to help people to save part of their money but also to be in a position to preserve the environment in which one is living in.