What is Publiek Vervoer Groningen Drenthe and what is their aim in the Interreg project Stronger Combined?
Social changes in Groningen and Drenthe
Groningen and Drenthe are two of the Northern provinces in the Netherlands. The two provinces are facing similar problems and challenges, such as ageing inhabitants and demographic developments, which lead to concentration of facilities. This on its turn leads to more transport movements and therefore more costs for transportation. At the same time the financial resources decrease more and more and the economic and social cohesion disappears more and more. So we have to make a difference in order to stop this. And to make sure that it is possible for every inhabitant in Groningen and Drenthe to participate in our (regional) society, including the ones who live in the more rural and distant areas.
Publiek Vervoer Groningen| Drenthe
Publiek Vervoer Groningen |Drenthe is a unique co-operation between OV-bureau Groningen|Drenthe (Public Transport Authority) and the local authorities in Groningen and Drenthe. We combine and integrate different ways of transport, including public transport, in these two provinces. We offer different sorts of transportation:
- Transport available for all the inhabitants and visitors from Groningen and Drenthe, such as:
- Buurtbus (local bus line operated by volunteers)
- Special transport, available for a select group of travellers who need extra support during their travels. This kind of transport is based on a medical indication. We offer the following services:
- Wmo-transport. This kind of transport is for people who have a ‘Wmo-indication’ Wmo is a legislation about including all the inhabitants. It’s about how to have all the people participate or make it available for them to participate in our society.
- Transport for pupils. This kind of transport is for children who need special transport to and from school due to a disability.
- Transport within the framework of the Participation Act.
To give you an impression on the volume of the group of travellers who need extra support (special transportation):
Transport for Pupils: 4.000
In total 1 million inhabitants live in the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe.
All the data about WMO-transportation and data about Hub-taxis are stored in a database, that we called the ‘dashboard Publiek Vervoer’. This database grows each month with more, new information about roughly 150.000 journeys per month. These journeys are made by all the transporters of Publiek Vervoer. For each ride or journey information is added to our database.
The aim of Publiek Vervoer is not only to run the above mentioned types of transport, but also to create an efficient, optimal, sustainable and future-proof integrated transport system, that’s available for all inhabitants and visitors of Groningen and Drenthe. One system for all the users, who are now divided among different systems. We want to make sure that the transportation on the long term, is still good and affordable. For us ‘sustainable’ means social sustainable as well as environmentally sustainable.
We can make this happen because we connect and combine different ways of transport that we offer, but also because we connect with the ways of transport that is offered by OV-bureau (public transport). Apart from that, we use IT applications, HUB’s (new waiting platforms for transition from one form of transport to another) new technologies and improvement of municipal policy such as more adequate indications.
We encourage people to use public transport, with or without extra support or help (special transport). With our services we can create enough mass of people to continue lines in public transport that would otherwise be cancelled. This is how we help people who cannot travel by themselves. This is how we support the entire transportation in Groningen and Drenthe.
Positive boost in the local society
Thus, although it initially started with a negative drive as an answer to decline and loss of social cohesion and increasing costs, it changed into a positive drive. Publiek Vervoer contributes to society in several positive ways.
The jointly pursued effects of this are:
- Increased occupancy rate of Publiek Vervoer (special transport) as well as public transport.
- Increased customer satisfaction, happy customers.
- Higher social inclusion.
- Fewer rush hour rides around urban areas.
- Implementation of sustainability by reducing the amount of miles, so we make the environment greener.
- Increasing the quality of life in the countryside.
Interreg project Stronger Combined
Within the context of the Interreg project Stronger Combined the main activity is to run the transport system itself and document lessons learned. The aim is to learn useful lessons from our own efforts, but also together with and from other European partners within the project. We want to share our lessons learned so other regions can also learn how to start a transport system like this. We also want to use the Interreg project to make some major steps in integrating different ways of transport. We started in in the spring of 2018 (the start of the Interreg project was delayed till December 2018). The contracts with the transporters are set till the end of 2022. By the end of 2021 a summary of the lessons learned can be drawn.