Introduction of minibus services for the higher parts of the city in Donostia - San Sebastián

The project consisted in improving the accessibility of the residential districts located on hillsides close to the city centre by implementing new minibus services.

The action was jointly planned and is being implemented by the Municipality of Donostia-San Sebastián and the city public transport company, Companía del Tranvía.

Background & Objectives

There is a large number of ageing people living in the hilly areas with difficult access to the city centre, consequently being at risk of social exclusion. These hilly areas, mostly inhabited by elderly people since they were built up in the 1940's and 50's, were not served by public transport previously.

The objective was to provide public transport service in the hillside districts in order to improve the accessibility for all residents with a special focus on elderly people with specific mobility problems. A  reduction in the number of car trips to and from the centre was also expected.

Implementation

The commitment acquired by the city council and the public transport company of San Sebastián has been to facilitate public transport as much as possible for all citizens of Donostia-San Sebastián.

Public transport service had been a request from associations of neighbours in the higher districts. The first line linked two high areas not only with the centre but also with important sites such as the  Oncology Hospital and Matía Gerontological Foundation.

The Municipality of San Sebastián and the Public Transport Company designed the lines with a door-to-door service concept, meaning frequent bus stops. The operational cost per vehicle was around 250.000 € per year. A leaflet was sent to the residents of the districts concerned and since the beginning of the service it has met with great acceptance.

At the moment there are three minibus lines in operation,  transporting over 800.000 passengers per year. The five vehicles running to provide the service have a capacity for 29 passengers and a  wheelchair each. The vehicles have been adapted to ensure maximum accessibility.

Line 36 / San Roque-Aldakonea: Starting in 2005, this line is connecting two high districts, Aldakoenea and San Roque, with the centre zone. The served population is 3,000 inhabitants more or less, many of whom are elderly. The frequency is every 20 minutes from 7:30 until 22:30 on workdays. On Saturdays and public holidays, the service begins at 9:30. It has 1.600 users per day.

Line 37 / Rodil-Zorroaga: This line was started in 2006 with the objective to improve the public transport service of the zone of Rodil (there had only been a taxi-bus service) and to offer it also to the area of  Zorroaga-Mendigain that previously lacked a PT service. The total population of these two served zones is approximately 4.000. Rodil-Zorroaga has an important city planning growth at the  present time, so a PT service is essential for the present and future scene. The frequency is every 30 minutes, from 7:30 until 21:40, and at the moment it has 1.000 users per day.

Line 38 / Trintxerpe-Altza-Molinao: This microbus line links the zones of Larratxo and Altza with Trintxerpe and connects the population of Eskalantegi, Molinao and Darieta to fundamental services. In addition, it allows the densely populated high zones of Trintxerpe, Larratxo and Txingurri to enjoy a public transport service until now nonexistent, and has destinations at intermodal or important supply points like Gaiztarro or Herrera. The total served population amounts to approx. more than 4,000. The frequency is every 60 minutes from 7:30 until 22:00 and there are about 300 users per day.

The implementation of the new bus lines was strongly conditioned by the difficult access for conventional buses in the steep, narrow streets of the concerned districts.

Conclusions

The objective of connecting the hillside districts to the city public transport network has clearly been achieved with over 800.000 passengers per year in the three minibus lines already running. The share of social bus ticket users (65+, retired, handicapped and welfare recipients) in lines 36 and 37 is 22% and amounts to 27% in line 38.

The quality of life for a large group of residents has been improved. This is especially true for the elderly residents who were previously making few trips outside their districts because of the difficulties in returning home uphill. Good results are being obtained on reducing social exclusion and dependency of older people in these districts.

The lines have been designed with a door-todoor concept, with very frequent stops in the residential districts. This is a key factor of success among older people with difficulties in walking even  short distances uphill.

A new minibus line and a taxi bus service will be introduced with the AENEAS project. The initiative can easily be transferred to other cities with similar topographical features. The results are very positive, as high vehicle occupancy rates have been attained.

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.