Public Transport – Queen of hearts

Raising popularity of Public Transportaiton

The problem with mobility is that everybody wants it with as little effort as possible. Motivation can run low in opting for public transport and this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Furthermore, popularity needs to grow if people are to change their habits and ultimately change the face of daily mobility.

An article appeared fairkehr in 2016 addressing motivating factors and illustrating how these have already been successfully implemented in some place. They are not farfetched or unrealistic and the examples included can be found in Germany and are applicable today in many places. To raise popularity simple solutions are suggested:

  • Make the system simple to use. It does not have to be free but ticketing can be used to one’s advantage: RMV has introduced E-Ticketing, Tübingen has a citizen’s card, and many cities have introduced Tourist Tickets. Introducing target group ticketing has two advantages: making mobility cheaper and making it easier to use on a wider scale.
  • Make the system convenient. Connections are vital for gaining commuters. Where direct connections cannot be made, focus needs to be given to multimodal points of transfer. Rheinland-Pfalz has implemented a state-wide interval timetable. Leipzig has concentrated on multimodal combinations between public transport and cycling stations, for private and sharing systems.
  • Make the system accessible. Accessibility takes shape in many forms. For people with any disabilities and barriers in personal mobility it is even more important to be able to guarantee access. Making stations, stops and vehicles accessible for all assures mobility and satisfaction for all customers (e.g. the vehicles in use by Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe DVB). This also includes seniors, families and children. Additionally, as in all relationships, communication is key. The communication with customers must be open and available: signs, apps, publications. All have shown to be successful at developing interest and maintaining good relationship.
  • Make the system ever-present. Presence of mobility aside from personal cars can be a tough one to address in smaller and rural communities and even more so as evening turns to night. Low customer numbers are not an excuse to take the opportunity of mobility from them. Creative solutions can be found. Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund (MDV) has introduced minimum intervals of 2 hours, even into the evening and so expanding their services beyond education commuters. The municipality Uckermark in Brandenburg is running a combi-bus, which transports goods to supplement low customer numbers.
  • Last but not least, don’t forget that good spirits make dedicated public transport users. Bogestra has introduced customer carers to fulfill this purpose.

Good public transportation needs to be many things, but what we have learned from the points above is that puplic transportation needs to be liked. It cannot be a chore. It cannot be the most tedious part of the day. Using multimodal and public transportation needs to become as routine to daily life as getting ready in the morning. On this path of motivation seemingly complicated issues can be addressed through simple solutions and commitment.

For the original article and a fun info-graphic (both in German) click here.