The main stakeholders of this concept are the county administration as the contracting body of the services as well as the bus operators as the service provider
The Saale-Holzland-County has a very inhomogeneous settlement structure; e.g. 64 of 195 villages have less than 100 inhabitants. Additionally the number of inhabitants will decrease by 15% till 2030.
The commuter flows show a strong orientation on central places. The largest intertwines exist with the cities of Jena and Gera in the neighboring counties.
The Public transport network is a „historic grown“ network which is highly forked with an unstructured travel offer and a small number of users. The network is mainly driven by pupil transport.
Main goal was to restructure the network in order to allow that
“Every citizen should have a minimum range of mobility options available by public transport, irrespective of the availability an individual car.”
Further objectives: reduction or at least stabilization of subsidies
direct connection of all villages to at least one central city secure connections to the regional rail transport (Intermodality) enhancement of accessibility increase of timetable clarity and notability.
The existing network was divided into a main network, a first and a second order supplementary network. The main network should guarantee a hourly tacted traffic with similar departure- and arrival times and definded connections and transfer relations to the regional railways. Direct lines with daily services should be implemented with barrierfree coaches. On the supplementary network the services will be compressed in a demand oriented way.
The revision of the regional transport plan as well as the organisation / reorganisation of public transport are regular responsibilities of the county administration.
Evidence of success
Yearly Subsidies lowered from 2,5 auf 2,1 Mio. €
Road kilometer increased by 200.000
Employees increased by 10 %
Average age of Bus fleet lowered from 12 to 10 years
In Thuringia the difficulty is that road bound public transport is ordered and paid by the counties whereas rail bound public transport is ordered and paid by the federal government. This means there is a high need for coordination between different players to get an integrated schedule.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice shows that an integrated concept for the restructuring of the PT network proves feasible and successful even in regions with unfavourable framework conditions for public transport, above all low population density and a shrinking number of inhabitants. Concerted measures led to a significant reduction of public subsidies needed to cover the operational costs, while the level of service improved at the same time. As a result the number of passenger increased. Experiences made in the County are an encouraging example that a well planned and demand oriented public transport network is a valid tool to raise the modal share of public transport also in rural and peripheral areas.
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