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Public transport (Commonwealth English) comprises all transport systems in which the passengers do not travel in their own vehicles. It is also called public transportation, public transit or mass transit (American English). While it is generally taken to include rail and bus services, wider definitions would include scheduled airline services, ferries, taxicab services etc. — any system that transports members of the general public. A further restriction that is sometimes applied is that it should take place in shared vehicles, which would exclude taxis that are not shared-ride taxis.

Public transport is the primary form of motor transport on Earth. Whilst in the Western World private cars dominate, in poor countries (which represent the majority of human population) most people cannot afford a private car (or in dense urban areas the cost for parking), so walking, (motor)cycling or public transport are often the only options, with only the latter being viable for larger distances (which by their nature represent the majority of transportation). This usually takes the form of mini-buses that may follow fixed routes but are usually flexible, including the option of taxi-style door-to-door transportation.