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Urban Transport expert’s opinion

Interview with Csaba Braun, Head of Marketing Department, MVK Miskolc City Transportation Company

What are the most important European and national guidelines which need to be followed while developing public transport systems?

 As regards Public Transport, currently the Transport White Paper 2011 is the most essential policy document. Among the strategic goals set in this Paper, MVK’s actual and envisioned aims are the followings:

  1. Reducing congestion and the use of private vehicles
  2. Greener (environmentally friendly) city
  3. More intelligent and flexible urban transport
  4. Access to urban transport for disabled people
  5. Improving safety and security of passengers

 

What kind of developments does MVK Plc plan to implement in the near future?

There are several running projects co-funded by the European Union, among which the most important one is the so-called Green Arrow project supported by the Transport Operational Programme.

In the frame of the Green Arrow Project, existing tramway has been already reconstructed and extension of the track has been also finished. Contract with Ganz-Skoda Company including the purchase of 31 trams has been concluded, trams will be delivered by 2015. Furthermore, modernisation of the depot as well as the establishment of handicapped tram stops providing advanced passenger information are in progress.

Within the framework of the so-called Smart Point Project, state of the art passenger information system will be developed in main bus stops in heavy traffic areas. Moreover, Traffic Management System will be installed in buses of the MVK.

As you know, under the support of ATTAC Project a Flexible Transport System will be tested for one year and the development of the city’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan has began.

Major development projects envisioned by MVK are the procurement of comfortable, environment and handicap friendly buses and the introduction of electronic ticketing system.

 Do you have the financial resources necessary for the implementation of the above mentioned envisioned projects?

 For MVK Plc as for almost all public transportation companies in Hungary, the only chance for financing transport development projects is to apply for European Funds.

 Are there already any quantifiable results of the running projects you have mentioned before?

 Yes, there are some existing quantifiable results as follows:

Green Arrow Project:

  • Reconstruction of 9,6 km tramway
  • Extension of the tram line by 1,4 km

Smart Point Project:

  • Infrastructural development of the ’Újgyőri Főtér’ Terminal

Further results that will be quantifiable in the near future:

Green Arrow Project:

  • Reconstruction of 48 tram stops including accessibility development and the installation of passenger information system
  • Acquisition of 31 new trams

Smart Point Project:

  • Equipment of 170 buses with GPS devices
  • Introduction of Passenger Information System in 54 bus stops, 4 nodes and 2 terminals

ATTAC Project:

  • Development of an integrated Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan focusing on Miskolc.
  • Test of a Flexible Transport System involving some bus lines in low population areas for a one-year period.

Could you tell us more about the concept of the pilot project to be implemented in the frame of the ATTAC project? What are your expectations towards this investment?

DRT (Demand Responsive Transport) systems have become very popular in last decades. In Hungary, DRT has been operating in only two cities, namely Budapest and Nyíregyháza. Furthermore, beginning of this year flexible transport services have been partly introduced in Debrecen.

 It is worth mentioning that at first in Nyíregyháza 2 kinds of DRT services were provided. One was developed for persons with limited transport capacity. This door-to-door service including the total area of Nyíregyháza was operating on weekdays during the working hours and the tariff was calculated on km based proportional rates.

 The other service were focusing on surrounding settlements of Nyíregyháza in order to complement public transportation system as well as to replace some bus services on work days without extra charge. So that some lines were only operating in case of reported demands (phone calls). On public holidays this opportunity was provided as premium service for relatively high price.

 Unfortunately, those DRT systems have not been successful. The reason for it was that there was solvent demand from disabled persons and for inhabitants of the surrounding settlements premium price was not enough attractive. As a result, today’s DRT systems operate only after 8 p.m. and bus lines carrying less 10 passengers run only on demand.

 DRT system of Budapest currently provides 2 types of services. One is targeted at handicapped persons, while the other one is focusing on passengers using night buses and based on a conditional schedule.

 In Debrecen, similar to Budapest, early morning and late evening buses run only by prior arrangements. Advance notification can be made via Internet based on prior registration, or by dialling a toll-free phone number, but in any case at least 60 minutes before the planned departure time.

In Miskolc we plan to implement a demand-driven and flexible public transport pilot project which will focus on pre-determined bus lines and bus stops.

Based on the communication channels necessary for advance notification (Internet platform, telephone, SMS) we will ensure the registration of travel requirements as well as potential cancellations (at least half an hour before departure up to one month). After sending confirmation to the passengers, the system will get in contact with the dispatch centre so that we can provide actual requests for bus drivers of running vehicles.

 Main expectation being placed on the initiative is to measure and evaluate passenger’s attitude towards the system and test economic viability of the DRT service within the operating public transportation system. Based on the results of the test project, we can take a reasonable decision about the integration of DRT services into our portfolio.

 

Publishing Date: 
Saturday, October 27, 2012 - 03:00
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