Encouraging the combined use of train and bike across borders in daily commuting through conscious railway infrastructure and service development.
CO2 emissions need to be reduced also at regional and local levels. Linking up sustainable modes of transport, like rail and bicycle can encourage workers to utilise these instead of cars. Cycling can meet the needs of commuting in the region if there are no timetable bottlenecks or comfort obstacles. GYSEV Ltd is a key actor of public transport in the West Transdanubia region, playing an active role as a catalyst of green transport. For 18 years it has worked towards transforming into an intermodal passenger mobility hub, providing innovative services and infrastructure development to smooth out modal switches for commuters, visitors. In order to better cater for the needs of bikers, several measures have been taken. Railway lines now run electric trains with low floors for getting on and off with and ample space for bicycles transport. Platforms in all stations have been renovated to match train floor levels. Secure bike storage areas have been established at 39 stations, conveniently storing more than 1800 bikes along the lines. Moreover, GYSEV offers many discounts to cyclists: bicycle ticket prices have been standardised within 50 km transport distance. On the cross-border routes the price of the EURegio Special return tickets includes the carriage of bicycles in Hungary and in Austria too. People can use these tickets even with stopovers.
These dovetail with passenger information, tourist benefits and a more clock-faced cyclic schedule attracting commuters.
In 18 years, since 2002, GYSEV has spent ~2,2M EUR on cycling and intermodality-related development. Projects were partly financed with own capital and partly with Structural Funds (Hungarian OPs: WTROP, Transport OP; Integrated Transport Development OP; ETC programmes: INTERREG AT-HU, CENTRAL, DTP)
Evidence of success
The utilization of B+R parking and the transport of bicycles on trains are constantly increasing on GYSEV lines, as the quality of service is improving. Secure bicycle storage facilities had to be extended several times due to heavy demand to a current capacity of 1881 bicycle storage places.
Despite a drop in petrol prices (10%) and a rise in car numbers (22%) in the region, passenger numbers increased by 8% in the period 2012-18. For cross-border trains to Austria, the increase is 34%.
Needs assessment in settlements; B+R storage security and awareness raising of intermodality solutions have been the greatest challenges of the development. Innovative design, intensive local engagement and eligibility of soft initiative costs on infrastructure projects were the pillars of success.
Potential for learning or transfer
The transferability of the good practice is high, as rail density in Europe is high, and a lot of settlements have stations. In settlements with well-developed cycling infrastructures no extensive investment is needed. The unexpected success of indoors B+R storages warrants consideration even in regions with more developed infrastructure.
The role of intensive cooperation with municipalities, commuters and other public transport actors, and the complex management of service and infrastructure development both at local and regional levels is also a valuable experience and a key success factor for future initiatives.