Adapted to the new reality and keeping the protection of everyone's health in mind, the 4th meeting of the Greek Citizens' Panel, which was initially scheduled for May 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was decided to be held virtually. Finally, it took place in October 2020 via the ZOOM platform.
Given the nature of online events, the program was split into two parts with the view to keep them shorter and more efficient. The first part was realized on Saturday, October 10, 2020, followed by the second part in the evening of Monday, October 12, 2020. Despite the different individual programs that are sometimes suffocating, the same group of 17 participants attended BOTH aforementioned parts. This indicates the commitment of the Panel to the mission of the PE4Trans project as well as their genuine interest on promoting the sustainable mobility in the city of Thessaloniki.
The main objectives of the 4th meeting were (i) the examination of the results of the previous meetings and their re-definition in the new era, shaped by the coronavirus, and (ii) the co-design of the relevant actions, as drafts of those which will be proposed to the Region of Central Macedonia in the frame of the regional Action Plan of the PE4Trans project.
The actions emerged and analyzed for each target group during the two parts of the 4th meeting, are, in summary:
Contest: Let’s design the Ideal Bus Experience for teenagers --> E.g. creation of a platform for candidates’ registration and electronic submission of proposals, information about the stages of the contest, selection of winners and live streaming transmission of the award ceremony due to coronavirus restrictions. Indicatively mentioning, the ideas of proposals can cover issues such as: how the ideal bus could be, what features the teenagers need to use it more often and how they will feel safer and better informed on the bus regarding protection against coronavirus.
For people with difficulties and disabilities: (e.g. parents with little kids in strollers, elderly, disabled, etc.)**
Driven by the approach “Information, Education, Awareness”, and also respecting everyone’s right to mobility, the following emerged:
Seminars and events --> Organization of seminars and events by the RCM and relevant stakeholders, addressed to the public, as well as seminars for bus drivers on how they should treat people with disabilities with emphasis on emergency situations. Part of the seminars is proposed to focus on the training, both of the personnel of the vehicles and of the passengers, for all the necessary measures of personal hygiene and behavior in the whole "travel chain" in the coronavirus era.
Demonstration of available PT equipment, bus disinfection process, behavior and proper protection measures throughout the "travel chain"--> a study visit to public transport infrastructure (e.g. bus depots, shared bicycles stations, etc.) is proposed in order to enhance the feeling of safety regarding the hygiene of public transport in the frame of the pandemic and to make citizens understand the services provided to people with difficulties and disabilities.
For busy professionals who choose car for every trip:**
Campaigns on sustainable modes of transport (public transport, cycling, walking) --> In order to raise awareness among citizens who have their private car as their first choice of traveling, it is proposed to conduct many consecutive campaigns focusing on different aspects, e.g.: benefits for the environment using social networks. Respect of personal hygiene measures, throughout the "travel chain", to safeguard public and individual health from infectious diseases transmitted within public transport vehicles, especially in terms of coronavirus: e.g. creating appropriate posters, brochures, videos, experiential training.
** There was a rational merge of the target groups, which had been identified during the previous meeting of the Citizens Panel, so that the participants could be divided into three "rooms".
Regarding the next steps, the project partner, TSRG / AUTH, is going to elaborate the results of the territorial workshops in Thessaloniki based on the Regional Operational Program of the Region of Central Macedonia (RCM), in order to come up with the Action Plan, which will be adopted by RCM with the commitment to implement it within the next two years (until May 2023). The final 5th territorial meeting of the Citizens Panel will follow in spring 2021 for the validation of the Action Plan.
More information for the territorial Greek Citizens Panel of the PE4Trans project: www.facebook.com/SumvouleutikiEpitropiPolitonPE4Trans/