The good practice is connected to rural mobility management and sustainable tourism. Åkturen is a public hop on hop of bus to rural tourism hot spots.
It´s a new way of using public transport for promoting rural business to develop without increasing traffic an admissions. You can reach several of the nature reserves in Varberg and an outdoor area with 12 hiking trails and 10 tourism destinations on the tour. You pay and buy your ticket through the same channels as you would for public transport. The project has been a sustainable public, private partnership – cooperation with the tourism destinations an our county board who are responsible for the nature reserves. The aim of the practice was to find a way to promote sustainable travels to our world heritage site World Heritage Grimeton Radio Station that is locates in the peri-urban area of Varberg. The aim was also to promote tourism based on health and physical activity and the assess to our nature reserves. We can se an increasing interest in visiting rural areas for recreation. This combines with the fact that we have a car dependent population is not sustainable in the long run. The project was initiated by the municipality of Varberg, the county board, World Heritage Grimeton and in cooperation with the tourism destinations. The bus has made 4 rounds per day on weekends in May and September and every day in June until August. The buss has been striped to be used as a moving billboard. The information about the buss is given through the app for buying tickets to public transport.
Total cost of the bus for summer traffic June-August and weekends May and September is 60 000 Euro with a possible ticket revenue of 5000- 10 000 Euro. Traffic costs 54 500 Euro, marketing 4 000 Euro, administration 2 500 euro. The municipality byes the traffic from the public transport company.
Evidence of success
The bus had 4000 passengers per year 2018-2019 only in its first years of traffic. The Covid crisis have stopped the need for the bus. But the number of visitors in the area have increased by 200% during this time. Visibility for sustainable travel, as the buss is striped and acts as a billboard. When the tourist can travel safe again, Åkturen and tours like it can have a chance again. Similar projects have started in Laxå, Kalmar and Kullahalvön but have all been effected by the pandemic.
The biggest challenge apart from the Covid crisis is to change the way public transportation plans are made. They do not i Halland include peoples need for visiting nature and recreation. The planning of public transportation are still very traditional.
Potential for learning or transfer
The potential for transfer is good. two projects have already been realized with Åkturen as an model and several more have shown an interest. The important but not necessary part of the transferability is the connection to the public transport sector. If you do the project without the public transport company the transferability is easier but you lose the connection to the systems and the scale of the possibility. We have not changed the destinations for the bus but that is also a possibility that may make the transferability easier.
Tags: Mobility, Rural, Tourism