New dedicated services – TELE-BUS in Krakow

Since July 2007, inhabitants of Krakow have the possibility to use an innovative demand responsive transport service: TELE-BUS. This Polish-Italian joint initiative is a pioneer DRT solution in Poland and an  example of technology and know-how transfer in public transport on an international scale.

The key partners within this activity are the local public transport company (MPK), the Municipality of Krakow and the City Council.

Background & Objectives

The area chosen to be covered by the DRT service is spanning over three districts (Rybitwy, Podwierzbie and part of Bieżanów) that are characterised by low people density. The regular PT offer is limited  there and the frequency of bus runs is low.

The main goal of DRT was better adaptation of Krakow's PT offer to citizens' needs, getting new PT users as well as a more effective bus fleet management.

The introduction of TELE-BUS was aimed at enlarging the existing transport system with respect to the current tariff and service provision regulations and at increasing the number of PT users, especially  older ones, as the area covered by the DRT service is quite highly populated by the older generation.

The target group of the measure was inhabitants of the above-mentioned districts of Cracow.

Implementation

The key conditions for the implementation of this activity was the support of Krakow’s politicians, the involvement of the PT operator in Krakow (MPK) and a positive approach towards the new idea within  the target group. It was also necessary to find a good example of such a practice in Europe. In this case it was the “Azienda Mobilita e Infrastructura de Genova S.p.A” (the “Agency for Mobility and Infrastructure in Genoa”) and a company responsible for providing DRT software (Softeco Sismat).

The implementation of flexible transport services in Krakow required a gradual and smooth realization of the following goals: choosing a DRT service availability area, creating a corporate identification  system for the services, defining the service model with respect to business, operational and social dimensions, DRT software adaptation, training and implementation, the establishment of a Transport Dispatch Center (TDC) as well as conducting a communication and marketing campaign targeted to all stakeholders.

The communication and marketing campaign for promoting the new activity focused on two main groups of stakeholders: District Councils (local decision makers) and inhabitants of the target area.

The campaign included the following: direct meetings with the mentioned stakeholders, press releases, production and distribution of leaflets, posters and gadgets, information on the Internet, articles in local newspapers and magazines, short programs and interviews on local TV channels.

All promotional materials were prepared in accordance with the TELE-BUS corporate identification system including green and blue colours for buses and bus stops and a new soft shape for the latter ones.

As political support was crucial for this activity, the Mayor of Krakow and the City Council were involved in the implementation from the very beginning. The participation of the local public transport  company MPK was obvious.

DRT is a service with fixed stop points but flexible routes and timetables. The service operates every day and during defined hours. The daily operating DRT service is managed by the Transport Dispatch Center – part of the MPK organizational structure.

DRT clients contact dispatchers by phone using a special free line dedicated only to DRT services. Dispatchers collect the information from passengers and put data into the system. Then the system   plans routes and output information is given to TELE-BUS drivers.

The only limitation from the passengers’ point of view is the fact that an order must be placed at least 30 minutes before the planned start of the trip. The communication between TDC and drivers is based on mobile phones and private radio network.

The activity is popular among inhabitants and is running in a successful way now , although there was quite serious reluctance among citizens before the activity was launched.

Besides, a preliminarily DRT service was created to replace existing lines that were ineffective from an economic and environmental point of view. Unfortunately, the inhabitants' opposition was so strong that DRT exists along with the rest of the bus lines.

However, the area of the DRT service will be extended in the future and in this region DRT will replace the existing ineffective lines.

Conclusions

One of the key benefits of DRT is a new positive image of PT in Krakow concerning its flexibility, with the ability to adjust to customers’ needs.

The DRT service started with 300 customers per month, but in January 2008, the number of passengers served amounted to 2000. However, the real factor of success was a positive change in the attitude among inhabitants towards the new PT offer.

This measure has already been a technology transfer from the City of Genoa. It is the first activity of that kind in Poland and it is a great example of technology and know-how transfer in PT on a  transnational scale.

The measure is easily transferable to other cities, although much time is needed in order to establish an effective service based on Genoa-Krakow transfer experiences. As far as Krakow is concerned, there is a great probability that the service will be extended to other similar areas.

Contact Person
Mr. Tomasz ZWOLINSKI
Firm: Municipality of Kraków
Address: os. Zgody 2, 31-949 - Kraków, Poland
Phone: +48-12 61-68 748

Homepage

http://www.mpk.krakow.pl/ (Polish)

The AENEAS project is supported by:
Inteligent Energy
The sole responsibility for the content of this case study lies with the authors.
It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Communities.
The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.