Mobility demand management and tourist products
Elba Island is subject to strong tourist flows during the summer season, with its proximity to the mainland encouraging many tourists to use their own car for travelling, thus generating traffic issues.
Therefore, it was necessary to put into action measures aimed at reducing the use of private cars, while increasing sustainable modes of transportation. This was done to generate environmental benefits and provide tourists with new attractive products.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Due to the high number of tourists coming to the island, especially in the summer, and the wide use of private cars, this measure sought to boost sustainable mobility by interacting with local stakeholders in the tourism sector.
In particular, by providing hotels with electric bicycles, it was possible for tourists to avoid using their own cars for daily trips. This helped to reduce traffic and overcrowding in car parks.
This measure was realised in several steps. It started with an agreement between transport operators and hoteliers to offer special tourist packages that included accommodation and sustainable mobility options, such as public transport (PT) rides, taxi, bikes, shared vans, etc.
The pilot municipalities and hotels selected shared the rental cost of 40 e-bikes, which were distributed to the hotels for their guests’ use. An important feature was the possibility for hoteliers to redeem the e-bikes at the end of the rental period, if they were satisfied with this pilot action.
In addition, the hoteliers were involved in information campaigns and training courses organised by the municipalities and the local PT operator, CTT Nord, to allow them to provide accurate information, sell tickets, and promote PT among tourists.
Hotels offered the chance to buy a new form of public transport ticket called the “Elba Card”. Valid for one or six days, this allowed tourists to travel across the island on all bus services at a special price. This allowed both hoteliers and tourists to be directly involved in the project’s sustainable mobility strategy.
This measure was made possible thanks to a win-win approach, consisting in having the two municipalities sharing the e-bikes’ rental price with the hotel beneficiaries and not covering the full costs, thus allowing a greater number of hoteliers be involved in the measure.
The second and more important innovative aspect is the commitment of hoteliers to provide information and sell tickets directly to customers, thus becoming ‘ambassadors’ for public transport on the island. The local PT operator organised a promotional campaign and a training course for the hotels’ staff and owners, thus enabling the hotel receptions to also serve as official ticket offices. This contributed to mitigating the lack of ticket offices on the island.
Connection to other measures
Besides offering the possibility for guests to rent an e-bike, the hotels offered the chance to buy various forms of public transport tickets and obtain correct information on PT services directly at hotel receptions. This was mainly due to the agreement between the local PT company CTT Nord and the municipalities of Portoferraio and Rio, as well as successful negotiations with the Hoteliers’ Association.
Sharing the e-bikes rental costs between municipalities and hotels was key to encourage hoteliers to be involved in sustainable mobility measures. In fact, some hotels decided to redeem the bicycles after the pilot period, thus permanently incorporating the e-bikes into the mobility offer for tourists.
Disseminating information on mobility
Involving hoteliers in activities to disseminate information to tourists about PT services on the island was crucial to raising awareness on the sustainable mobility actions within the project.
Hoteliers realised the advantage of providing their guests with environmentally friendly means of transport. This led to some accommodation facilities retaining their e-bikes at the end of the trial period.
Others realised that their typical guests would prefer electric mountain bikes, given their greater appeal to sports tourists as well as the morphological features of the territory. Finally, others were more inclined to purchase or rent scooters.