In order to combat increasingly high car ownership and its related negative environmental consequences the Government of Cyprus has introduce a range of sustainable interventions. One of the latest schemes is the introduction of free bus travel for students.
Background & Objectives
Larnaca, with its sea port and international airport is the international gateway to Cyprus and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city of Larnaca has over fifty two thousand registered vehicles to a population of around seventy thousand.
Similar with other cities in Cyprus, road transport services are provided by the private sector. In Larnaca there are 22 inter-urban buses but the majority of the buses belong to the tourist sector, numbering 500 in total from various companies. As part of wider government measures to reduce the unnecessary use of private vehicles, students are now entitled to subsidised bus travel. Student transport in Larnaca is provided by 63 urban and 93 rural buses. An estimated two thousand students from the city and over four thousand from Larnaca’s rural areas currently make use of these services.
The main objectives of the scheme are to;
- Prevent congestion outside city schools during the morning and afternoon rush hours;
- Provide viable alternatives to travel for students;
- Help students stay away from driving scooters, motorbikes and cars to schools, either legally or illegally, and minimising parking problems around school neighbourhoods and the risk of accidents;
- Contributing to change the travel behaviour of future citizens of Cyprus.
The main details for the scheme are as follows
- For urban areas, students travelling distances under 9km receive the amount of €32.65 each month and for distances over 9km, €39.20.
- To be eligible for subsidised travel, urban area students must live at least 2.4km from their school.
- For students travelling to city schools from rural areas, bus travel is also subsidised. Students receive per week €19.30 for distances up to 25km; for distances over that the amount becomes €24. These amounts reflect the maximum equivalent cost of travelling with these buses.
Subsidising each student bus costs around €24,000 per annum and for the 2006-07 school year the scheme has cost over €17m , €4m are for the Larnaca area.
The initative has proved to be highly sucessfull in contributing to the wider goals of sustainable modal switch. Currently University students of Cyprus Insititutions are allowed a 50% discount when showing their Student Cards.
Department of Road Transport, Ministry of Communications and Works- http://www.mcw.gov.cy