"Further improving the existing DRT service in the municipality (small city in rural region) ensuring a sustainable mobility service".
In cooperation with the municipality of Purbach, a direct project partner of FLIPPER, the existing DRT system will be analysed and compared with the other case studies.
The existing DRT service in Purbach in front of the medieval fortifications in Purbach
1. Purbach case study
Purbach is located in the province of Burgenland and hosts 2672 inhabitants (year 2009). The village is located next to the lake Neusiedl, an important recreation area for the surrounding regions, especially for the inhabitants of Vienna, the capital of Austria with a travel distance of about 1 hour. The altitude with its 128 m above sea level is very low for Austria. The climate allows a big variety of agricultural activities, especially winemaking. The settlement is relatively compact, there are no larger sub settlements within the boundaries of the municipality, but the built environment is of low density and of rural characteristic. There is one main road linking the provincial capital Eisenstadt (distance 19 km) with the federal boarders (Hungary and Slovakia) leading through the settlement with a regional bus service supply along this road. There is also a railway line linking the same destinations. There is no taxi operator in the settlement. There is sufficient supply with infrastructure for daily life, such as supermarkets or schools. Only pupils visiting schools providing specialized secondary education need to travel to Eisenstadt. Before the instalment of the demand responsive transport system, which is called “GmoaBus”, there was no public transport supply available for internal trips in the settlement as the regional bus line and the railway line serves only one stop within the settlement. The GmoaBus is operated with only one vehicle. It can transport 8 passengers and has a very user-friendly equipment (e.g. low-floor vehicle, double-wing door). It can be ordered only by phone and provides a door-to-door service from and to any address within the settlement. Operation times are Monday to Friday from 5 am to 9 pm and on Saturday from 8 am to 12 am. There is no service on Sundays and holidays.
2. Data collection method
In order to explore the mobility behaviour in spring 2010 a mail out mail back questionnaire including a trip diary was sent out to a sample of the inhabitants aged over 6 years. The net sample included 303 persons in Purbach (clearly more than 10% of all inhabitants). In 2009 an oral user survey was carried out in the bus or via telephone in the evening of the same day of contact to explore the origins and destinations, the trip purpose and other mobility data. 39 interviews could be made. Additionally to these direct contacts some statistics were recorded by the bus drivers, such as number of passengers, origins, destinations, distances driven. Furthermore an attitudinal survey (telephone survey, users as well as non users) was carried out in the area, exploring the user requirements and the willingness to use a modified demand responsive transport supply.
The figure below gives an overview of the mobility behaviour of Purbach distinguished by age class of inhabitants. The overall picture shows an increasing use of private car as driver up to an age of 40 years as culmination point. Beyond that age again decreasing shares of this mode take place. Contrary to this mode, walking and public transport shows the opposite development. As recognised in the user profile of the GmoaBus service as well, younger people are not the main user group of the service. With increasing age, the GmoaBus gets a more important role in the mobility of the people, which causes a higher share of public transport in these age classes. In the age class over 65 years the share of non motorised modes and car as passenger (as a substitute to public transport) is therefore clearly under average in Purbach.
Results of the mobility survey in the Purbach: the relation of age and mode choice (own survey, workday, year 2010).
On working days on average 105 passengers were carried by the GmoaBus, on Saturday, there are 27 passengers per (half) day. In the year 2008 the total operating costs were about €100,000 which means €1.57 per driven kilometre. The revenue of fares was about €14,500 which means cost coverage of 14%. The figure below shows one key result of the attitudinal survey. If the operation of the GmoaBus would follow e.g. a synchronized timetable instead of service at any time, trips could be organized more efficiently by collecting several passengers and cost coverage could incerase. The acceptance rate of such a service for the inhabitants (users and non users) was asked. The results show 62% of all users of the bus would accept a time interval of at least half an hour. On the other hand 25% would not consider a synchronized timetable at all. Users are defined as those, who used the bus at least once since the service exists.
Results of convenience of time intervals (own survey, year 2009)
Another question was related to an optional change of the vehicle to a worse equipped but cheaper one (like a car or a conventional minibus or minivan). One third of all users would miss the low-floor option whereas another third would not miss any special equipment. A majority of users would accept an ordinary car, maybe because many of them have no other alternative for their mobility. Also an operation with bus stops instead of the door-to-door service could increase the efficiency of the GmoaBus. The inhabitants were asked about the maximum walking distance to the next bus stop, they would accept. The average distance of all statements was 280 meters. 80% of all single ticket users (88% of all users) would accept an incerase of the fare of 20% (i.e. €1.20 instead of €1.00) whereas only 38% of all season ticket holders (12% of all users) would accept this. The maximum fare, which a majority of users would accept is €1.50. This confirms the existance of a considerable consumer surplus at present. Concretely asked about operation time it turned out that the inhabitants would like to have an operation on Saturday afternoon and in the night in summer season when wine taverns are open. Especially for that night service 70% of all inhabitants would accept a fare of €2.00 for a single ticket. Finally some options for further modifications of the service had to be rated as more or less important for the respondents. The figure below shows the results. Financial support from the province is seen as most important, followed by better integration in the transport system and extra service for special events.
Results of importance of certain aspects of operation in the future (own survey, year 2009)
4. Conclusions and recommendations
Following actions are recommended due to the results of the surveys:
• 30 minutes time windows for picking up passengers in the outskirts of the settlement. In the northern part of the settlement passengers will be picked up in the first half of an hour, in the southern part in the second half. In the centre picking up at any time remains possible. In all cases the passengers will be brought to any address.
• Introduction of bus stops: For picking up, passengers should wait at densely distributed bus stops within the settlement. The passengers will be brought to any address.
• Increase of tarriffs: A single ticket should cost €1.40 (currently €1.00), a day ticket €2.40 (c. €2.00), a week ticket €6.00 (c. €5.00) and a season ticket for one year €180 (c. €150).
• Additional service on Saturday: New operation time from 8 am to 5 pm.
Those actions, which cover a whole year of operation can lead to an increase of cost coverage from 14% to 16%. Additionally one seasonally dependent service should be introduced:
• “GästeBus” – evening and night service during summer tourist season: From May to September on Thursday and Friday from 9 pm to 11 pm and on Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm. Only single tickets should be provided for €2.00. A lack of cost coverage should be compensated by sponsoring of the owners of the wine taverns, who will gain profit of the provision of the GästeBus service.
In November 2010 the first season of GästeBus service was completed, first evaluations of this pilot application will be carried out. Other actions are in stadium of preparation. Their implementation is envisaged for January 2011.
Dr. Roman Klementschitz, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU),
Peter-Jordan-Str. 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria, +431-47654-5308, email@example.com
David Wurz-Hermann, MSc, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Peter-Jordan-Str. 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria, +431-47654-5343, firstname.lastname@example.org