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Reorganisation of the bus network

La Rochelle

With the expansion of La Rochelle’s urban area and the rapid growth of its commercial zones, the public transport network needed to be adapted in order to meet the changing demand.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Prior to measure implementation, there had been no significant evolution in the urban bus network since the 1990s. The public transport system was therefore unable to meet the increased demand and major adjustments were necessary in order to make it more efficient and attractive to passengers.

Surveys suggested that over half of the city’s bus users (54 percent) were ready to pay more for an enhanced public transport offer.

How did the measure progress?

Studies and negotiations were undertaken in cooperation with the regional authority, the regional public transport operator (SMCTCM) and the 18 cities of the Urban Community of La Rochelle. From November 2008, the management of public services was contracted to Veolia for an eight-year period for school transportation and public transport in the “second ring” (i.e. the nine communes located on the border of the Urban Community).

Within the “first ring” (i.e. the city of La Rochelle and the nine surrounding communes), reorganisation involved redesigning the network with emphasis on links between the main transport hubs. High-frequency bus lanes were created, as well as service routes joining peripheral districts without crossing the city centre.

A new branding concept was developed with the aim of achieving complete multimodality. The Yelo public transport smart card can be used to access buses, self-service bikes, park and ride facilities, boats, shared electric cars and other modes of transport and the Yelo offer comes with a simplified and harmonised pricing system for all user categories. The card was launched in September 2008 during an informal meeting of European ministers of transport in La Rochelle and the launch was accompanied by a strong marketing campaign.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

The reorganisation of the network was not completed within the CIVITAS project period. The Yelo smart card is in operation and has successfully created a new image for multimodal offer of the city’s public transport service.

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La Rochelle Site Manager