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Kraków - AENEAS Measure #2
Safer public transport for older people

Click on images to enlarge
A workshop for children
One of the cartoons from the outdoor campaign. See article >>
The new seat covers. See article >>


Public transport is still very popular in Krakow, as well as in whole Poland. Fortunately! One of the groups that use its offer mostly is older people. Senior passengers often do not have their own cars. This is the first reason. However, no one can doubt that public transport can be very helpful and effective in every day life, especially when it takes such a high modal share as it is in Krakow. Yes, there is still a lot to do, especially when the number of low – floor fleet is concerned. Nevertheless, Krakow can be proud of many solutions in the field of sustainable mobility, its modern tramways and buses, limited traffic zones in the city center, additional handrails at the entrances in trams, Tele Bus service, the first in Poland Bicycle Renting System, improvements in the pedestrian environment etc. Moreover, people older than 70 can travel for free with public transport, whereas retired people receive special discounts.

Notwithstanding, no matter how it is, there is always something that can be upgraded. That is why Krakow decided to join the AENEAS project. Thanks to one of its measures, “Safer public transport for older people”, Krakow will make older passengers’ traveling in public transport more comfortable and safe.

Starting at an early age – meeting with pupils at schools

Kraków's aim is to promote widely the appropriate behaviors towards older people in public transport. Therefore a campaign was started at the beginning of May, which is targeted primarily towards the young generation.

In December 2009 a series of 5 workshops for children (aged 12-14) took place in several schools schools in Kraków. They were conducted by the Centre of the Educational Prevention “Kangur” with the attendance of 101 children.

Fortunately it is still common among parents to teach their children some basic rules of “savoir-vivre”, but it does happen more often nowadays that the young generation tends not to pay attention to older people’s needs and requirements. This is why the school meetings were launched - to raise children’s awareness about those requires in the context of their mobility in PT, and to sensitize them for their special needs.

The workshops were full of activities, giving a lot of room to use the childrens' imagination. Young participants had the possibility to create new solutions for problems that often become challenges for older people during their traveling.

Why not use some delicate sense of humor in the AENEAS Project?

On 19th May 2010 Krakow launched the outdoor stage of the campaign. The famous graphic artist, Mr. Andrzej Mleczko had been requested to design some graphics of the campaign. Mr. Mleczko is very popular in Krakow and famous all over Poland. Mr. Mleczko made two posters aiming to raise the awareness about the needs of older people and problems that seniors may face when traveling by tramway or bus. The posters are to encourage all public transport passengers, especially the younger ones, to help older people in their travels, particularly to give one’s place to them. Mr. Mleczko’s posters support Krakow’s action in a delicately humoristic manner.

The posters appeared in the center of Krakow, on the bill-posts located near the public transport stops, near schools, in the local and municipal media, in the Bus TV, and on the municipal website. They have been also disseminated in all Krakow’s primary and junior high schools.

New seats’ marking = no excuses for younger passengers

In the second half of June 2010 about 50 seats were marked with a special pictogram symbolizing the older person in the buses of the local public transport provider, Mobilis. In each bus 1-4 seats were converted. Mobilis is one of the two public transport operators in Krakow. The company was really willing to cooperate with the Municipality of Krakow in the field of AENEAS activities. As everyone may imagine, these special seats are designed for older people. The idea is not only to make seniors’ traveling more comfortable and safe, but also, or maybe even mainly, to draw attention of other passengers, especially the younger ones, to give up their place to seniors every time they may “forget” about it…

Lessons learnt

“It is never a bad youth, it is always a bad teacher” says a funny students’ proverb. No matter how fickle it may be, no one can deny there is at least a grain of truth, as AENEAS school meetings proved it. Before one starts to complain about “teenagers of today”, one should educate them first in an appropriate way.

The results of questionnaires filled in before and after meetings clearly show the general positive change in the attitude towards older people among the youth. In average about 40% of children (of those who had admitted their behaviors were not always correct before) expressed their promise to act towards older people in a right way after the workshops. Having heard a lot about consequences of an ageing process and their influences on people’s lives, children declared to be more conscious and aware about seniors’ needs, to be more observant during their public transport travels in order to help them or to give up places to those who need them more. Almost 60 % of participants assessed the meetings as “very good”, and about 30 % as “good”.

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