Panagia Small Train - free public transport in Kavala's historic centre

By News Editor / Updated: 29 Aug 2014

A small train on tyres tours the Panagia peninsula in Kavala's historical city centre providing free transport for tourists visiting the major ottoman and byzantine sites. The service is also used by residents (usually the elderly) as a means of everyday transport to the new city centre.

Background & Objectives

The main reasons for the introduction of the small train route in Panagia region were :

  • The city centre is a cultural, historic site with limited road network and problematic accessibility.
  • The roads are stone paved and narrow and the region is a mountainous peninsula.
  • There was no public transportation system previously available and such a service had long been a demand of the region's inhabitants.
  • Social exclusion was a big issue mainly for the elderly that lived in the neighbourhood. No other vehicle with the capacity to move more than 20 people was eligible to travel on the roads of the region.

The focus of the initiative was to provide the citizens with an alternative means of transport other than the privately owned car.
The primary objectives of the initiative were :

  • To improve mobility in the region.
  • To promote the region as a tourist destination.
  • To fight social exclusion.

The target population was : The region's inhabitants and visitors to the city


Financial Resources
The cost of implementing the scheme was 176.000.00 Euros which came from municipality revenue.
The operational cost is also covered by municipality revenue

At the time of the implementation not much statistical data was available. Data regarding inhabitant's travel behaviour was available through the national statistical association (ESYE) and municipality data (DEYAK water company).>The implementation of a public transportation system was a long time demand of the region’s inhabitants.

The implementation of the intervention was empirical. A small train vehicle, the same as the one that was to be bought, was tested on the proposed route in order to make sure that it was suitable for the job.


  • Small train test ride.
  • Acquisition of the vehicle
  • Mechanical adaptation (suspension) of the vehicle in order to travel without problem on the mountainous stone paved roads
  • Education of the vehicle drivers
  • Signs on the roads and bus stop


A new bus network 6 km (4 km in the old city region)
Bus stops : 8 (including starting point outside Panagia region)
Panagia region inhabitants : 1800 (ESYE 2001)
Panagia region car ownership : 520 private vehicles. Average number of people travelling each day : 200 (excluding Sundays)


The small train vehicle public transportation system is considered best practice because :

  1. It has improved the mobility in a very important and difficult (transportation wise) region of the city.
  2. It promoted the use of public transport, a more environmentally friendly means of transportation.
  3. It helped city visitors and tourists to enjoy better access to Kavala.

  4. Critical Success Factors:

    Political support and long-term commitment
    Public awareness
    Funding (national, EU)

Collective passenger transport
Mobility management
Kyriakos Tyrologos
Kyriakos Tyrologos
Integrated transport planning
MM for cities & Regions
MM for touristic areas
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20 Jan 2013
29 Aug 2014