New city cab system launched
The system is simple. A bus parked at a depot waits for a signal from a dispatcher.
After receiving a number of passengers? calls, the dispatcher informs the driver which route to take.
The bus needs to be booked only 30 minutes in advance. The only thing you must do after that is wait.
What you get for the price of a ticket is transportation from the city center to farflung areas at a time convenient for you. All discounts ? such a student discount — remain valid.
?Flexible bus lines,? commonly known as Telebuses or ?city cabs,? will begin operating in Krakow in the second half of July.
The reason for the program is that the current transportation system offers only a few trips at widely spaced times to outlying areas.
Rybitwy-district residents will provide the initial test of the city?s new initiative, which has already been tested in the Italian cities of Florence and Genoa.
Zbigniew Palenica, chief financial officer of MPK S.A. Krakow, says telebuses will be an attractive and cheaper alternative to taxis.
Taxi drivers, of course, are unlikely to be happy with the Telebus initiative, just as bicycle-rental companies were when the city began a bike-renting operation.
One of the Telebus program?s objectives is to help make those living on the outskirts of Krakow feel less isolated, less like they are living in an off-the-beaten-path location.
?We are going to come even if there is only one passenger waiting for us,? Palenica said.
The first blue and green Telebus will hit the streets of Rybitwy on July 14. The places where it stops will have signs in the same blue and green colors.
To start with there will be 12 buses. Ultimately the number will grow to 15.
Also to start with, the buses will be able to be used in summer only.
MPK said it will hire disabled people to man the service?s central office, part of its commitment to complying with a European Commission call to help disadvantaged groups be full participants in society.
Those living in outlying areas have difficulty getting to the center of the city and back at a convenient time. Only one line goes to most of the areas, and it offers trips only once an hour. If someone misses a bus, he has to wait an hour for the next one.
Operating a lot of buses on each route would not be economically viable because each would be empty most of the time.
Palenica?s only concern that many Krakow residents will be slow to grasp the notion of a flexible-bus-line system.
He said the program is just part of the EU Civitas Caravel public transportation initiative, whose ?innovative character? touches upon ?spheres which have so far been very much neglected.?
Another goal of Krakow?s program is to make car drivers aware of the possibilities of using buses to commute to the center of a city. Another objective is to make outlying areas a more attractive place to live.
MPK said it will hire disabled people to man the service?s central office, part of its commitment to complying with a European Commission call to prevent disadvantaged groups from being excluded from mainstream society.
?Because this initiative is already being carried out in Genoa, we can make use of both the Italians? computer system and their previous experiences,? Palenica said. ?It is obvious, however, that over the long haul, we will eventually have to decide how to integrate this system into the city?s existing transportation system, as well as how to maintain it.?