Bürgerbus - German experiences in community transport

The paper presents the concept of “Bürgerbus”, the main form of voluntary-based community transport in Germany. It sums up the history of the concept, but is mainly based on experiences made by the author during a three-year consultancy project in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Core elements of a Bürgerbus are a minibus, which can be driven with a car licence, the volunteer drivers, and the local knowledge and contacts they bring into the development of the service. However, the process relies also on cooperation with the local authorities, public transport providers, local businesses and other stakeholders. Various models exist to organise this “teamwork”. For a successful implementation, it is essential to know and respond to the motivations and interests of the volunteers and to allow space for flexible solutions. There are currently about 170 Bürgerbus services in Germany. Experience shows that the development process often requires patience and commitment from all parties involved, as the formal framework for public transport is not well suited to small-scale, volunteer-based concepts like this. However, once started, very few schemes have closed for lack of drivers or demand. A Bürgerbus cannot replace mainline public transport, but it provides a low-cost way of filling gaps and catering for specific needs that are otherwise difficult to capture.


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  • Accession Number: 01481623
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 20 2013 3:29PM