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“Citizen bus around citizens” in rural Brieselang


Change management

The challenges of implementing a good idea within a complex legal framework became quickly evident. In particular, the association had to convince both the company registration and taxation authorities that it was not aiming to become profit-making, but rather was just looking to provide basic rural transport services. Eventually, all the obstacles were overcome and the new association was founded in June 2007, with 30 local residents as individual members. The local council became  an associate member (without voting rights), which ensured that the (directly elected) mayor, or a representative, would take part in the meetings of the association, which was important to improve coordination and partnership working with the local council.

The next challenge was to get funding to buy and operate an 8-passenger mini-bus and to get an operating license. This involved filling out many forms and making a lot of visits to public agencies. Two public funders were eventually found - €35,000 came from the state government lottery, while the local and district authorities agreed to share the operating costs of the bus. The income from ticket sales and from the community association’s membership fees also contribute to the operating costs. After the first year, financing rules changed and so the business plan had to be redone, bringing in one different funder.

In addition, all future drivers had, by law, to pass physical and medical examinations to assure passengers’ safety.  Moreover, the association had to guarantee a reliable failure-free service, eight hours a day, five days a week. So one of the most important challenges was to organize a system of motivated drivers and also a foolproof system of automatic substitution procedures for those cases where some driver unexpectedly did not turn up. Furthermore, we had to work out a way of dealing with drivers who didn’t have enough discipline to keep to the agreed timetables – and those who just found that driving the mini-bus was too hard for them.

Clearly, there also had to be a practical system for providing a replacement when the bus broke down or had to be maintained. And, in the future, we will have to find a way of buying a new vehicle, when the old one becomes unserviceable.

 Future challenges are the extension of the timetable to week-ends and to new routes. It will also be essential to recruit more drivers, so that the burden can be distributed between more volunteers.

About this case study
Main Contact

Günter Lüder
Managing Director of BürgerBus Brieseland e.V.

email:
guenter.lueder@arcor.de

Klaus Werth
Founding Member of BürgerBus Brieseland e.V.

email:
klaus.werth@bmi.bund.de

Günter Lüder

Klaus Werth

Günter Lüder and Klaus Werth provided Governance International with this case study on 3 September 2010.

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