Green public transport line
Funchal has introducing a low-emission bus line that serves a major tourist and residential area previously affected by heavily congestion.
Implementing sustainable mobility
The city of Funchal has developed a lot during recent years in its waterfront area on the West side, where the terrain is not as rough as other parts of the city and where most hotels are located. New buildings for residential and tourist use have been built, and new leisure areas are arising making this area one of the most pleasant in all the Island. These trends have been emerging hand in hand with an increase in traffic, which was necessary to curb. The Green Line as a high frequency bus line was planned in the context of MIMOSA to supply a tourist and residential area with a well-planned high-performance service. Its implementation in a highly strategic urban area in Funchal was stimulated by new and integrated mobility thinking.
The main objectives of the measure were thus to:
- Promote public transport use;
- Provide high environmental, safety and accessibility standards; and
- Reduce private car traffic in the target area.
The new bus line intends to demonstrate the effects of a high-quality public transport service in a tourist area and provide a national and European model that can serve as an example elsewhere. The Green Line is integrated in the city’s wider efforts to provide better pedestrian, cycling and bus access to the key tourist parts of the city. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports this measure as an essential step for regional sustainable development.
Another important activity implemented was the Tourist Kit, which gives the opportunity to the tourists to receive a public transport ticket in the hotel. This package has started as an auxiliary action to support the Green Line and promote public transport in hotels. But it turned out to be one of the most important and more interesting features of this measure, creating breakthroughs in terms of nurturing green and responsible mobility habits.
The Tourist Kit action is in line with European Action Plan for Urban Mobility (COM, 2009, 490), a document where the Commission stresses the importance of public-private partnerships.
The public transport operator Horários do Funchal, which steered the measure, has successfully cooperated with the Municipality and with the Hotel industry representatives to implement the Green Line.
The buses were given a new and fresh image with a new brand to clearly distinguish Green Line and setting this measure apart from all others. The public transport operator has also installed three electronic street kiosks along the route to help pedestrians find their way in the urban network.
Green Line was instrumental to fine-tune an optimal PT service in a touristic area, tackling problems of overlapping service and making sound contributions to curb the shortcoming courtesy buses that hotel managers offer to their guests to take them from the hotels to the city centre.
For this to happen, the public transport operator has developed a marketing campaign so called “tourist kit” . The kit, with its daily tickets and bi-lingual brochures about the most exciting places to visit using the bus, has become a European-wide case study for scholars and practitioners to learn how sustainable transport can be used as a marketing element for tourist destinations, and how to transfer this experience to different local contexts. The Tourist Kit was hailed in 2010 , by the Regional Government, as the most important urban mobility policy developed in Funchal.
Thanks to the lessons learnt during this measure and the new ideas that arose, PT operator is now developing an Intelligent Energy Europe project SEEMORE (2012-2015). The target group are the tourists, and some of the new activities comprise an extension of what was developed in the frame of the Green Line measure, notably to promote public transport among visitors.
The impact evaluation results of the Green PT Line were positive and the outcomes of the measure were already visible during the lifetime of the implementation. Several key results from the evaluation showed the evolution between 2008 (before the implementation of the Green Line) and 2011 (after the implementation).
• Financial balance was achieved – the operating revenues of the public transport service in the Green Line target area have increased by 10% against the scenario before MIMOSA, whereas the operating costs have been reduced by 13%; • Reduction of pollutant levels in a range of 13% (CO2eq) to 43% (PM10) – due to the allocation of Euro V buses to this area; • High acceptance and satisfaction levels – this measure is perceived as essential for the development of local economy (based on tourism) and the satisfaction rates among the PT users in the target area have risen due to the quality of the buses, information provision and of the improved bus stops; • Bus stops improvements – the bus stops in the area were substantially improved with shelters, seating availability, bus docks, information about either the bus lines and the city network and real-time information of the buses; • High hotel support for Tourist Kit – in less than 3 years, 45% of all the hotel units located along the target area have supported Tourist Kit and have started selling PT tickets at the reception desk; • Increase social inclusion – substantial achievements have been made in the inclusion of people with mobility limitations, namely wheelchair users which increased sharply due to the implementation of the Green Line; • Presence of less vehicle intensive streets – the road network in the Green Line catchment area benefited from a reduction of 13% in the overall traffic levels.