Skip to main content
EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article15 March 20184 min read

BikeXtra: By Pedelec to the RegioTram

Due to demographic change, varying needs for mobility, new communication and information technologies, the structure, form and requirements of local public passenger transport (LPPT) change constantly. The Nordhessischer VerkehrsVerbund (NVV) transport alliance, and rural municipalities encompassed by the Alliance, are feeling the consequences of this state of flux. The private car continues to be the dominant means of transport but the NVV aims to carry more passengers and ensure that the hole journey is conducted in a more environmentally friendly way. To do this, NVV need to examine users' trip chains - the main component of which is to be LPPT. The Alliance must observe and note how people travel to the station, the tram stop or bus stop to help integrate new transport services into existing practices. The Nordhessischer VerkehrsVerbund (NVV) transport alliance project "BikeXtra: By Pedelec to the RegioTram" has been designed to link bicycle travel to LPPT.

Project aim and term
The NVV will conduct this practical project with scientific support for a period of around four years. The time horizon pursues the aim of obtaining knowledge on acceptance of the new product and on choice of means of transport behaviour. The NVV has set itself the following targets in this project:
• Expanded mobility services (linking of Pedelec & local public rail transport [LPRT])
• Enlargement of the effective catchment areas around stations - feeders to LPRT
• Winning of new custom
• Strengthening of the environmental alliance
• Concept for the "first and last mile"
• Project for the rural districts - beyond the KasselPlus ticket rate zone
• Creation of a viable alternative to private cars
• Long-term, sustainable modification of choice of means of transport
• Showcase project for climate protection and provision for reduction of CO2 emissions

Project description
The NVV project aims to reach both existing and new customers who travel frequently and therefore use an annual season ticket and wish to use a Pedelec for their journeys to and from the station.
Customers living beyond the KasselPlus ticket rate zone on the two selected RegioTram routes - the Wolfhagen and Hofgeismar lines - can rent a Pedelec in conjunction with their purchase of an annual NVV season ticket. This offer is initially restricted to 100 Pedelecs. During the first practical phase, taking place in 2018, the rental period will extend for eight months, from May to the end of the year. For this period, the Pedelec is available to the customer without restriction for a rental fee of 159 EUR. New LPPT users are required to share their experience and perceptions of this environmentally friendly, multimodal form of mobility with the NVV, for the purpose of scientific project support. For this purpose, their mobility behaviour will be recorded in three surveys, conducted prior to, during and after use.

In the following year, from March 2019 onward, the Pedelecs will be made available to other (new) customers and rented out to them for ten months, again to the end of the year. The rental charge for this longer rental period is 189 EUR. The change of users is intended to allow as many customers as possible to take advantage of this offer, in order to permit the generation of utilisation data for a broad customer base in the context of the practical project.

The responsible county and municipal authorities are also involved in the project and will, for their part, make efforts to increase the bicycle-travel component. It is intended that future applications for funding for the bicycle infrastructure be submitted to the State of Hesse. Our aim is a cycle track to the rail station. In specific terms, it will be necessary to close gaps in the cycle-track system, improve the signposting of cycle tracks, and provide secure bicycle-parking facilities at the stations. All these elements will contribute to an increase in the use of bicycles for everyday travel.

A customer survey performed on the RegioTram routes in September 2016 indicated that potential, even now, is above 150 persons interested in long-term Pedelec rental, this survey covering all three RegioTram axes, i.e., the routes to Wolfhagen, Hofgeismar and Melsungen. Another result disclosed by the survey was that fact that many public transport users travel to the station in their car, despite living in a locality with a station or in a closely adjacent locality. The Alliance's aim is to provide these customers with an alternative means of transport for the so-called "first mile". NVV are aware that we sell many monthly season tickets on these routes, but hope to gain new customers for the annual season ticket. An advertising campaign focusing on the exclusive Pedelec will be displayed in the relevant marketplaces and in the relevant pedestrian zones in order to recruit customers in the selected route corridors. Potential users will be able to inspect and test "live" the Pedelec manufactured by HNF Nicolai.

The practicalities of Pedelec rental
This Pedelec model is manufactured by HNF Nicolai, who submitted the best bid in the competitive tendering procedure. The bicycles will be issued at Hofgeismar and Wolfhagen on a Saturday in May 2018 where a technical introduction will be provided - and the bicycles configured to the users' needs. Any repairs necessary will be performed on-the-spot at the customer's premises by HNF Nicolai's mobile bicycle repair shop.

Scientific support
The practical project is to be scientifically observed and supported throughout its period. Customer surveys on choice of means on transport, on the popularity of the Pedelec rental programme, on routes and distances travelled, and on any problematic points within the cycling infrastructure, are a precondition for participation in the restricted-scope Pedelec programme. Post-campaign questioning of the customers will aim, in particular, to obtain information on the extent to which long-term rental has affected choice of means of transport on a longer-term basis. The services needed for this scientific support programme have been put out to tender.



Publication date
15 March 2018
  • Intermodality
  • Germany