With support from CIVITAS DESTINATIONS, cities like Funchal and Rethymno are ensuring that public transportation and cycling support transitions to increasingly car-free lifestyles.
Funchal (Madeira, Portugal)
Since October 2019, the public transport operator Horários do Funchal has provided its passengers with a diverse range of promotions and benefits to incentivise more sustainable transportation. This includes discounts at local restaurants, spas, stores, fitness centres, and much more. The initiative is called “Public Transport Friend” and has proven to be highly successful.
In September 2019, Horários do Funchal began promoting Public Transport Friend using its social media channels; website; posters in bus stops, hotels, ticket sales points and bus doors; and with advertisements in the local newspapers.
At the same time, initiative partners – in other words, the businesses offering discounts for public transportation users – continually promote the use of public transport through their own channels. This reciprocal support has been the most innovative part of the initiative, bringing other entities, local businesses and stakeholders into the promotion of more sustainable urban mobility.
In December 2019, Horários do Funchal surveyed its customers at the most frequented ticket sales points. They found that 23% of customers already knew about the initiative.
Throughout 2020, the public transport operator will continue to expand the benefits that public transport users can accrue. By the end of January 2020, 20 businesses had joined the initiative, and efforts to enlarge their scope continue.
Do citizens opt to cycle for their daily commute? This question, among others, was the focus of a survey conducted by the Technical University of Crete in November 2019.
Data analysis revealed that 70% of bicycle owners cycle for daily transportation to and from the city centre, while 64% of them opt to cycle instead of using a car. Of those who do not already own a bicycle, 50% expressed willingness to choose the bike over a car when travelling within the city.
Although Rethymno has progressed in shifting its modal split towards more sustainable forms of transportation – thanks to measures enacted through CIVITAS DESTINATIONS – traveling by car remains the first choice for half of survey participants. Further improvements are needed to achieve the change of mindsets required to reach the targeted modal shift.
Challenges to wider adoption of cycling as the main mode of commuting persist in Rethymno. Next steps will look to address bike lane encroachment, unsafe driving behaviour, a need for additional bike parking spaces, and to complete the few links still missing to the city’s bike network.
Findings from the recent study will be further analysed to see how they can support new policies that will put the brakes on car dominance in the city and enhance car-free lifestyles.
Authors: Andreia Quintal, Stavroula Tournaki