150 000 tourists visit the Aigüestortes I Estany de Sant Maurici National Park every year. Since 1995, it is prohibited to enter the National Park by car. Before, thousands of cars blocked this wonderful nature reserve in the high Pyrenees during the main season. Since then tourists need an alternative to get in the National Park. Some inhabitants of the valley of Boí (one of the entrances to the National Park) used this need to their advantage. A cooperative was founded, to offer a hailed-shared-taxi-service to tourists and inhabitants from the villages in the valley of Boí to the Nationalpark.19 bus-drivers with their 9-seat-buses are running the system and some of them earn a living from this cooperative.
Exchanging flexible mobility solutions for rural aerea, like the example of the Boí Valley is an integral part of the Interreg Europe Project “LAST MILE”. Since April 2016, 7 partners from six countries are dealing with the challenges of sustainable transport in rural areas and discuss policies, framework conditions and practical experience around flexible mobility systems.
During their second project meeting in Barcelona from 17th til 20th of October, project partners discussed the main outcomes of the project during the 1st semester. Every regional partner is progressing well in their analysis of political, legal and institutional barriers in the regions. A world café dealing with this topic took place on 18th October with some of the stakeholders of the partner regions. It showed that framework conditions are very different in the participating countries. Analysis about the framework conditions of every partner region will help future projects by simplifying the way of implementation and will foster other regions and countries by stating examples.
Our study visits in Catalonia showed how their Department of Transport is dealing with these framework conditions. In a few examples like the hailed-shared-taxi-service in the valley of Boí partners and stakeholders could see some good practices. Further flexible transport services are the train with stops on demand circulating between Lleida and La Pobla de Segur. By this system, the train is quite fast and the schedule is attractive for tourists as well as for inhabitants. Last but not least, the cable car in La Vall Fosca (one of the entrances to the Aigüestortes I Estany de Sant Maurici National Park), which is running normally for the employees of the electricity producer there, makes tourists during summer time benefit from a convenient service to cover 450 meters of height in 14 minutes.
The partners and stakeholders took many new ideas from this study visit in Catalonia and in combination with the internal meetings, project partners are again encouraged to work together on this promising project.