Enabling older people to use public transport in Munich (Germany)

By News Editor / Updated: 12 Jan 2015
The public transport provider in the City of Munich, the Munich Transportation Corporation (MVG) and the NGO Green City offered public transport training for older passengers. This included active training in a bus followed by a city tour using public transport. A total of 11 training sessions combined with the city tour were carried out over two consecutive days.
The project was initiated by MVG and Green City e.V. (an environmental organisation from Munich). A pilot training event was first held on 26 August 2010. Feedback was then elicited from trainers and initiators to improve the training. This was followed by the implementation of a further 10 training sessions during October and November 2010. All parts ran smoothly and the project was deemed to be very successful.
The objectives of the passenger training were to enable elderly people to use public transport in a safe and comfortable way and to respond to the needs and requirements of older passengers in public transport.The main target group was senior citizens between the ages of 60 and 90 who want to be safer in their use of public transport and need certain information about safety and security. Such people could be partly disabled (in wheelchairs or requiring use of Zimmerman frames) but they were required to be mobile in order to participate in the practical training sessions.
The target group was reached by the project partners with the assistance of elderly service centres. The offer of the training courses was promoted within the elderly service centres in each city area and interested seniors were informed about the details of the training by the project partners. Communication took place over the telephone, via mail and through direct contact in the elderly service centres.
In action 
The two involved partners were MVG and Green City. MVG was responsible for providing the buses, infrastructure and the more technical part of the training. Green City took care of the educational component, the organisation of the training and general preparations in collaboration with the elderly service centres.
Key stakeholders included the elderly service centres and interested senior citizens, who received information through the elderly service centre brochures. The senior citizen marketing campaign, carried out by the City of Munich, also advertised the training in its special mobility brochure.
The training was planned and prepared by the project partners, the trainer and mobility experts during several meetings. An important event was the feedback discussion after the first training pilot to improve the concept and design. The main steps were the bus training and the city tour.
With effort and manpower, the measure could be transferred to other cities. Smart planning and dedicated implementation of involved partners are important preconditions. There should be a good and trustful co-operation between the public transport organisation and the external partner. Long-term planning of all matters of the measure is strongly recommended. Good practice examples from other cities and organisations are very helpful, as is political support.
After each training there was a short evaluation of the training itself and the benefits for the participants. Ten courses with a total of 77 participants were implemented in 2010. The average age of participants was 78, with the oldest person being 94. The participants were 83 per cent women and 17 per cent men. They mentioned that the courses were very helpful. The most important things they learned included improving their skills in getting on and off the vehicles and feeling more confident in using public transport.
Collective passenger transport
Transport for people with reduced mobility
Mobility management
Northern Europe
Andreas Schuster
04 Jan 2011
12 Jan 2015