The agreement in force since 2007 between Puglia Region and 5 regional railway companies to transport for free the bikes without paying a supplement of € 3,5.
The CYRONMED project, financed with Interreg ArchiMed 2000-2006 funds and with Puglia Region as Lead Partner, aimed at the identification of the main backbones of a Mediterranean cycle network. In particular, in Puglia, analyzing the interconnections between the Bicitalia and EuroVelo routes and all the modal interchange nodes, it was noted that bike and collective transport inter-modality would actually be possible only if:
a) Stations/stops, ports and airports had become bike-friendly through the elimination of physical, tariff and management barriers and the implementation of services for bike passengers (e.g., cycle parking);
b) the transport of bikes onboard various public transportation had been organized, promoted and made possible and had been equipped with dedicated spaces inside the trains as a service to passengers.
In order to implement the above, the Puglia Regional Government on 16/07/2007 signed an agreement with the five railway transport companies operating in Puglia regarding the development of bicycle and train inter-modality in Puglia.
The agreement requires the railway companies to commit to the following:
- equipping trains with spaces dedicated to bicycle transport;
- providing stations with barrier-free and signposted paths;
- providing the stations with equipped areas: outdoors for parking and indoors for the storage of travellers' bikes.
Since 1/08/2007, the cost of the ticket for transporting bikes onboard the trains has been eliminated.
The Regional Government of Puglia has reimbursed annually Trenitalia € 20,000 a flat rate paid partly with Ministerial funds and partly with regional funds. Since 2018 the refund of tickets to Trenitalia is based on the number of bikes actually transported.
Evidence of success
The signing of the agreement led all companies to provide the same services. The introduction of free bicycle transport on trains has been a real success over the years, both by commuters and by local and foreign cycle tourists, even if not all companies have organized themselves in the same way.
Bikes transported by Trenitalia Company:
2017 n. 30,065
2018 n. 28,466
2019 n. 35,739
2020 n. 13,064
Bikes transported by the South-East Railway Company:
2014 n. 8852
The implementation of the Agreement has occurred very slowly. The greatest difficulty is of an infrastructural nature. Often even the new trains have spaces for a limited number of bicycles. Due to budget problems, Regional Government has granted reimbursement only to Trenitalia.
Potential for learning or transfer
The 2007 initiative of the Puglia Region is considered good practice and it was replicated albeit with different organizational methods in the upcoming years by other Regions, such as: Basilicata and Campania (free transport only on weekends); Autonomous Province of Trento only for workers, students and retired person; Marche, Liguria and Sicily always and for everyone.
Each action of the Agreement has become part of the regional law on cycling no. 1/2013, of the 2015-2019 Implementation Plan of the Regional Transport Plan and of the OP FESR Action 4.4 in relation to the construction of new velostatios in Puglia