Pendolaria 2019, the annual Legambiente report on rail transport in Italy was recently presented in Palermo. Rail mobility is on the rise, with 5.7 million people taking metropolitan and regional trains every day, and high-speed trains are booming, but the differences between the various parts of Italy, where there are huge differences in the quality and services offered by railway companies, are also increasing. In some areas, the service is one of the most competitive in the world. An example is the line between Florence and Bologna, where the number and speed of trains is unparalleled elsewhere in Europe. Outside the main high-speed routes and the regions that have invested in recent years, the service situation is deteriorating, with fewer trains running and, consequently, fewer people travelling by rail. Southern Italy in particular continues to suffer from a lack of planning: the trains are old (average age 19.3 years compared with 12.5 years in the North) and few in number (there have even been reductions in intercity and regional trains in circulation over the last ten years), and they run on lines that are largely single-track and not electrified. Compared to the rest of the country, there are fewer high-speed Frecce and Italo trains, as well as Intercity and regional trains.
In view of the problems that have emerged, Legambiente has also presented a number of proposals to improve the situation, asking the government to focus on the daily needs of millions of citizens and commuters. In short, the priorities identified by Legambiente to revitalise rail transport are:
- more trains on the rail network;
- priority for infrastructure investments in cities;
- a plan for travelling around the South by train.