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ITALY, Borgo Panigale (Bologna)

"FTS for an urban area in Bologna, Italy, with the function to link a low density area with main transport service line and administrative local offices"

The Borgo Panigale feasibility study focusses on integration to conventional main public transport lines in order to increase ridership with modal shift from individual to collective transport.


Prior to the FLIPPER project the peripheral area of Borgo Panigale quarter, which has a low population density, had no public transport services and so there were no links with the main PT lines for the city center of Bologna or with places of attraction, such as Municipal Offices, mall, postal offices, clinics and so on.

In partnership with the FLIPPER project the Borgo Panigale FTS, which is called “colBUS”, was established following a specific tender in June 2009 for an experimental period of one year and with financial resources from the Municipality of Bologna. This service links the low-density area of Borgo Panigale quarter (in the west-side of the city) to the main PT network and to the most important public buildings.


The main features of “col(BUS” are:

-         the service was performed with an 8-seat vehicle, always available during the service time;

-         the service time lasted from 7 am to 9 pm, from Monday to Saturday;

-         57 stops were created within the served area, and all the existing road network could be used to link one each other;

-         through a specific call-center and a specific Dispatching Software, all requests of trip were collected and elaborated in order to create optimized routes, with regard to travel time and covered kilometers, and to satisfy the most number of requests;


Concerning the Contract of Service with the Operator, the monitoring system was considered a lot, in fact the Operator had to send to the Authority all journey data, detailed with the time and day in which booking was made, the requested departure time of the journey, the requested departure and arrival stops and the number of passengers.


Some weeks before the end of the first experimental year all these data were elaborated, and some relevant results were obtained, concerning stops use, users distribution through the day and the week and number of passengers. In particular the number of passengers, after a familiarisation period, reached an average number of 10-11 passengers per day.


All these data confirmed that the choice of an FTS instead of a conventional service was the right one.


However, the most interesting result concerned the driver “real working time”: it was carried out that they were driving for only the 20% of the service time, while the remaining 80% of the time was spent waiting for a journey request.  This situation led to a very high cost per passenger which was economically unsustainable for the Municipality, which asked the Authority to find a way to reduce the service cost keeping the same level of service.


It was decided, in agreement with the Operator, to change the “operating model”, moving from a model with one driver and one vehicle always available to a model with many drivers and many vehicle available “only” in case of a journey request. In this way the service will be performed by the Car Hire with Driver Association (subcontractor of the PT Operator), so that the number of vehicle available will rise to 70: in case of a journey request one of these cars will provide the service, and then it will go back to his “real” job of Car Hire. This solution is possible because the number of available cars is very high and the reduction of the Car Hire Service level of service will not be appreciable.


This change in the operating model allowed definition of a forfeit cost of the service, equal to half the cost of the previous model, and led the Municipality to confirm the FTS for the following year.

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