The Night Owl is a bus offer in the nights from Friday - Sunday. The busses connect the city of Göttingen with different cities in the county of Northeim.
Göttingen with its many events and restaurants is a magnet for the inhabitants of the district of Northeim. At the weekends, public transport ends at a certain time, too early to have the opportunity to get home with public transport. Therefore, many people go to Göttingen or in the opposite direction by car. The Night Owl service gives the opportunity to reach Göttingen from Northeim or another city in the county of Northeim, even at a later time, thus avoiding to use car.
The new service is supported by the regional authorities as a good solution for increasing road safety during the night. The offer started at the end of 2017 with one bus line between Göttingen and Einbeck and was extended in August 2019 with further night ones.
On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, various night bus lines offer passengers coming from Göttingen after midnight connections, from the train station or from Gardekürassierstraße Northeim, with scheduled taxis in the direction of Einbeck, Moringen and Bad Gandersheim. In addition, other two night bus lines run from Göttingen along Adelebsen to Uslar and from Göttingen along Hardegsen to Moringen. Both these buses and taxis work from 12:00 p.m. to 04:30 a.m..
The financial resources had to be raised each year in the amount of 66.000 euro.
The night buses are financed by specific funds from the State of Lower Saxony (funds to support for further development of the road-bound local public transport system NNVG).
Evidence of success
In the period from August until October 2019 a passenger count was carried out on the Night Owl bus lines. During this period a total of 409 people used the new service. The new offer has reduced the risk of young people driving drunk after a party. This also increasesd safety for other road users.
In addition, CO2 emissions can be reduced because the night bus service bundles various individual trips.
People in rural areas are so used to take their cars as mean of transport (routines) that they often do not perceive other mobility offers. This makes it difficult to persuade them to try out the new offers. In addition, bus drivers had to be found because they are a limited resource.
Potential for learning or transfer
The project shows that night bus lines can be operated not only in large cities but also in rural areas to connect main centre of the region, because this is where most events take place. From a certain central point, in this case the city of Northeim, it is not necessary to offer regular buses. Due to the low or irregular demand on some routes, it is sufficient to offer small means of transport such as scheduled taxis on these routes, as almost empty big buses would not be sustainable. Moreover, For example the night bus enable peoples multimodal mobility by taking to take the bus from Göttingen to Einbeck and cycle from there by bike to a smaller town near Einbeck.
If the night bus would not exist, then there is only a possibility to get home only by car.
It is also important to advertise the new service adequately. This includes, for example, posters, flyers, radio spots or advertisements in newspapers. The marketing campaign should last for a longer period of time.