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Introducing an environmentally optimised river shuttle

Göteborg

To meet increased demand for public transportation and to connect the northern river bank with the central areas of Gothenburg, the measure was therefore aimed at introducing an environmentally optimised ferry shuttle.

Implementing sustainable mobility

There were river shuttles operating in the centre of Gothenburg for most of the 1900s. While there has been strong environmental development in land-based public transportation, development in the maritime and waterway sector has lagged behind.

The main objective of this measure was to plan and build an environmentally optimised river shuttle as part of the public transportation service in the city centre.

How did the measure progress?

During the project period, several independent developments led to the political leadership questioning the proposed river shuttle:

  • The rising number of companies, houses and schools on the northern river bank had led to renewed interest in establishing a bridge for pedestrians and bicycles over the river.
  • The new high-capacity bus line, a regular and frequent service using buses operating with Euro IV engines running on compressed natural gas (CNG), was introduced in January 2003, serving passengers between the city centre and the northern river bank. The rise in the number of passengers was unexpectedly high, leading to a decrease of between 10 and 15 percent in the number of passengers on existing river shuttles.
  • With a dramatic increase in the cost of public transport in Gothenburg, cuts were planned to be made in the existing transport system and all new investments were therefore questioned.
  • CNG technology for the shuttle was available, but at a higher cost and involving higher annual running costs. There were also difficulties in finding suitable suppliers of CNG engine technology.

The Traffic and Public Transport Committee requested an in-depth analysis of present and future mobility demands across the Gota Alv River, which resulted in the discontinuation of the measure.  

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Although competitiveness was not the main objective of the measure, it turned out to be one of the reasons for its discontinuation. The introduction of new, high-speed buses led to a significant decrease in the number of passengers on existing river shuttles. This in turn led to the conclusion that ferries are a viable option for public transportation only if they are faster and more convenient than other transportation means.

During the project period, a number of reports were produced:

  • Draft tender documents
  • Design and specifications of the shuttle
  • Review of price elasticity of CNG and price comparison with marine diesel
  • Review of possible alternative propulsion methods (i.e. electric, mixed fuel)

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