Adapting Public Transport for older people in the city of Donostia- San Sebastián

The principal aim of this measure is to encourage and increase the use of the public transport among the old people. At the same time, they get some useful information about how to make use of public transport system, not just about buses services but also learning about how to understand information provided in all the bus stations of the city, including timetables and frequency.

Background & Objectives

European society is getting older. Actually, in 2025 over the 25% of the EU population will be over 65 years old. This problem gets even worrying in the Basque Country due to the fact that our current society is one of the most ancient one of the European Union, having the 18,7 per cent of the population with 65 years or more. Having this fact in consideration, it becomes and essential duty having old people needs into account and act accordingly. That is one of the reasons why it was decided San Sebastián- Donostia should take part into AENEAS project. This activity is one of the different measures our city is nowadays implementing. Through the application of this action, our city intends to help the old people with the correct use of public transport, offering to them handy information and increasing at the same time the attractiveness of the public transport.


It was necessary the participation of different stakeholders for achieving the purpose. On the one hand, the contribution of the old people homes of different neighbourhoods of the city was essential for having the opportunity of carrying out this activity. Thanks to their collaboration it became possible to organise the groups in order to carry out the workshops.
On the other hand, the application of this particular action would have been impossible at all without the collaboration of the Donostia- San Sebastián Public Transport Company (CTSS). In fact, they were the one who provided all the material for the participants. Two people in charge of the company, the Communication Head and the Bus Drivers´ Head, took part in each guided tour, giving all the explanations as well as providing teaching materials. Their involvement in the activity it has been so important. In fact, CTSS is currently training the 350 bus drivers of the dBus company on older people requirements and, by the way, there is a calendar where the training dates are already established. The City Council of Donostia- San Sebastián took part in the activity too and one technician of the Mobility Department attended the workshops.

This activity guided to old people could be divided into three different parts:

  1. Instruction about how to understand the information provided in bus stations
  2. Instruction about how to manage inside the bus
  3. Guided bus trip along the neighbourhood

Firstly, CTSS people gave senior citizen useful information about the bus station. They explained how to understand the bus routes provided in each station as well as the frequency of each different bus line. Besides that, old people were taught about how to understand correctly the provided table of buses variety of changes. At the same time, they learnt about how the informative screens of bus stations work. These ones give information about the arriving time of the city buses. Instructors also gave advice about the usefulness of having the bus ticket already in hand before its arrival in order not to slow down the bus queue.

Secondly, they got some useful information about how to manage inside the bus the best they could. Thereby, old people learnt about how to get on the bus correctly, how to walk along the bus once inside in order not to get fall down or about the rights they have to ask for the seats especially established for them, in case they were being used by non old people.
Furthermore, they were informed about the possibility have available the acoustic information for each bus stop. These messages are normally switched off and are activated as a request of one person or when blind people go into the bus.  

Eventually, they were took to a guided bus trip of about ten minutes in order to let them see the route of their neighbourhood bus line, as well as to know arriving times and frequency.
After this, there was a coffee- break offered in the old people home.


This activity has been really successful, with the participation of 149 people in 7 workshops. After taking part in it, participants should fill out a questionnaire and the results we have obtained are really positive. Senior citizen who took part in this activity stated that it was really useful and that they would use public transport even more frequently. Considering almost all of them were already usual passengers of public transport, they already knew quite a lot about how it works. Nevertheless, they got some new useful information about the ticketing or the provided table of buses variety of changes. Therefore, the aim of this activity has been totally achieved and, after seeing the success it has had, we will continue offering similar activities in the near future.

Contact Person
Mr. Andrés Martínez
Firm: Municipality of Donostia-San Sebastián
Address: c/ Urdaneta 13, 3ª planta, 20.006 - Donostia – San Sebastián, Spain
Phone: +34-943 48 28 09


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.