Nysa is a town in south Poland with over 40 000 inhabitants (58 000 in the municipality) and 16 bus lines – 12 of which go out of the city. Nysa’s public transport company, Miejski Zakład Komunikacji (MZK), carries 2.6 million passengers every year. Nysa has been having problems with heavy traffic in the city centre. As a result, the municipal office has been strongly promoting the use of public transport.
Nysa’s bus fleet has been systematically improved since 2006, with 34 buses now in total. By the end of 2014, modern IT systems, on-board ticket machines and electronic information boards at bus stops will be installed. In addition to the traffic problems, the closure of the city’s Kościuszko Bridge, a major traffic artery, led the municipal office to think of free public transport for car drivers as a solution to help motorists while also promoting sustainable mobility.
Before deciding to implement the scheme, Nysa's municipal office underwent preparations that lasted several months. This included a consultation with local councillors, who represented citizens of Nysa, and representatives of the town’s transport company. To inform the public about the scheme, the municipal office used billboard advertising at four road entries around the city, and posters on buses and in the community, with a slogan explaining that public transport is the friendliest form of urban transport to humans and the environment. Money for the advertising campaign came from the municipal office’s budget.
‘The regional and national media were very interested in the topic of free public transport in Nysa, which also helped in the promotion of the scheme,’ said Piotr Walach, Nysa’s deputy mayor. Nysa’s municipal office decided on 19 April 2012 to allow all car drivers (including local residents, guest and tourists) to use public buses free of charge. Passengers simply show their driver’s license and car registration documents to the bus driver when boarding a bus. This was initiated in May 2012 by the Mayor of Nysa and implemented by the municipal office and the municipal department of communications. The resolution prepared by the Mayor was published in the Official Journal of the Opole Province. The duration of the scheme - which is costing the municipal office 200 000 Polish złoty (€ 48 000) to implement, and which includes funds for marketing - is indefinite.