'A la carte' public transport: we’re on the way!

Locally implemented with the help of the ERDF, this new concept in public transport is well under way to being applied throughout the region.

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A flexible formula for public transport designed for peoples’ needs. A flexible formula for public transport designed for peoples’ needs.

Context

Until recent years the province of Flevoland – economically the poorest in the country – suffered from the drawbacks of the regional public transport system: lack of buses at evenings and weekends, suspension of some lines and, for many inhabitants, an absence of public transport in the vicinity of their houses. At the same time there was greater need for public transport on account of the ageing population and the increase in the number of handicapped and ill people.

Conscious of the social and economic role of public transport as well as its environmental benefits, the Dutch authorities devised a national policy to provide a better match for the requirements of efficiency, availability and security in public transport. It was also necessary to put into practice the new law relating to the handicapped ("Wet voorziening gehandicapten", WVG) which came into force in 1994. In relation to this a single global system for transport of the disabled was preferred to several distinct systems. From concertations to studies, soundings were taken and adapted to regional and local levels. So a new concept was born: “A la carte” public transport.

A new concept

It’s a flexible formula which combines taxi-style service with traditional public transport. With one telephone call an itinerary is organized on request to take the traveller where he or she wishes, including places inaccessible to the public transport lines. People can therefore travel from door to door or attend sporting or cultural events making use of the best possible combination of different methods of transport. All this for tariffs only slightly higher than (or in some cases equal to) normal lines, and significantly lower than taxi charges. Further reductions are offered to disabled holders of a “WVG” card and the taxis and buses are accessible to wheelchairs.

A nudge from the ERDF

The concept, simple in principle and sophisticated in practice, is entirely orientated towards peoples’ needs. The first ERDF subsidy was directed towards the “Mobimax” project set up in the suburban region of Noordoostpolder which became operational in April 2000. Then October 2001 saw the beginning of the implementation of the “Public transport on demand” project ("Collectief Vraagafhankelijk Vervoer", CVV) in the region of Dronten, also cofinanced by the EU.

Results

The new formula has been very successful and the number of users has surpassed expectations: so much so that on 4 April 2005 “Regiotaxi Flevoland” was set up to take over from the preceding projects, this time without assistance from the ERDF. It covers the areas of Noordoostpolder, Dronten, Zeewolde and, from 2006, Lelystad.

Regiotaxi Flevoland is currently accessible to all the region’s inhabitants, seven days a week, from 6am to 1:30am, given half an hour’s notice or more. Fixed tariffs apply to journeys within a maximum of five “zones”, beyond which a surcharge is added; total cost of travel is given at time of reservation. If, for logistical reasons, joint itineraries can be organised for several travellers, time guarantees are provided with a maximum leeway of 15 minutes before or after the fixed time.


Draft date

01/05/2006