Within the wider CIVITAS Elan project, the City of Brno recently purchased and introduced 5 minibuses which are specially designed and equipped for people with reduced mobility.
Background & Objectives
Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. It is situated in the South Moravia Region and has approximately 370,000 inhabitants. In the city there are about 50,000 people with permanent reduced mobility.
Before the Civitas Elan project started, in Brno the public transport fleet was only rarely able to serve this target group. The percentage of low floor vehicles among the total of more than 300 buses and trams was low, and, on the regular bus fleet there is only space for a maximum of 2 wheelchairs on each bus.
In Brno wheelchair users often live together in special houses and typically travel from their homes together in groups. To improve transport services for this group of people, the City administration together with DPMB (Brno Public City Transit Co. Inc), the public transport operator, decided to purchase 5 special minibuses within the CIVITAS ELAN project.
The basic features of these minibuses include a modern information system, loading ramps, folding seats and space for at least 6 wheelchairs. Compared with standard buses the minibuses are also more environmentally friendly.>The buses are run on 2 special routes, N° 81 and 82, connecting the homes of mobility-impaired travelers with the main public institutions and hospitals in the city centre.
The 2 routes run from Monday to Friday from 5:00 to 20:00. At other times the buses provide other services, for example, at the weekend, the buses are used for special trips for people with reduced mobility, to take them to, for example, a shopping centre, or other destinations.
The Brno Public Transport Company also consults directly with mobility-impaired groups to accommodate their current and future travel needs.
The main benefits of the new mini buses are:
• Compared to the standard buses, travelling in the minibuses is safer and more comfortable for mobility-impaired travelers;
• The operating costs of the minibuses are much lower than for the standard buses, especially in the case of fuel consumption, which is less than half that of the standard buses.
Additionally, the city has also increased the number of low floor vehicles within the bus fleet, which gives people with reduced mobility greater travel opportunities in addition to the specialized minibus services.