Sluggish public transport is finding it increasingly difficult to woo Italians away from their beloved cars, according to a new report by environmental association Legambiente. On average, it says, Italians now take a bus, a tram or a metro 83 times a year, compared with 95 times 10 years ago, and 71 of 103 provincial capitals registered a fall in the number of people using public transport during 2002. Figures provided by local public transport companies in some of Italy's biggest cities show there was a dramatic decline last year in the number of journeys made annually per inhabitant by bus, tram or metro. In Naples, for example, the figure dropped from 233 in 2001 to 131 in 2002, while in Florence it fell from 229 to 137, and in Turin it decreased from 201 to 125. In Rome, however, where public transport is used more than in any other Italian city, the figure held fairly steady: each resident made an average 481 journeys by bus, tram or metro in 2002 compared with 483 in 2001. This was despite the fact that the average speed of public transport in the capital was just 15.4 km/h, which is also the national average.
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