Awarding Procedure for Flexible Transport Systems

Project information

Index: 0126R1
Priority:2: Environment and risk prevention
Sub Theme:Energy and sustainable transport
Location ITALY NORD-EST Bologna Emilia-Romagna Start/End date of the practice
Start: 2008-03-01

Topic of the practice

*Encouraging the use of public and shared transport

Good Practice Information

This is a good example of how to purchase flexible transport services via an competitative award procedure. It is important to remember that after a pre-feasibility legal check different actors of the transport field could be interested in taking part in the competition: bus operator, taxis, car rental with driver. In SRM experience in areas with very weak demand or weak hours the involvement of private operators could be winning solution: keeping a dedicated bus and a driver can be very expensive for the system. The awarding document have to be very detailed, including all contractual provisions that the operator should respect in running the service. The beneficiaries are: local government body spent less money for a more effective service; the citizens could benefit of a new service in a weak demand area, not affordable for a traditional bus line; car rental with drivers in a crisis period additional trips (paid on forfait basis) are an economic help.

In general, FTS are services with small quantity of kilometers and they can often be considered as an integration of existing service contracts, included in the so called “jus variandi”, as to say in the flexibility foreseen by the contract. In 2008 the Municipality of Bologna asked to SRM the support to set up a FTS in a weak demand area in the Western part of Bologna. After conducting the survey and the results analysis, SRM awarded, on behalf of the competent local body, the service.

This procedure can easily be duplicated all over Europe, depending on existing legal framework for public transport (if including specific rules for FTS). In general involving small or private operators in a very well defined operational framework could offer a solution to move a very low number of passengers without incurring in high fixed costs due to the use of a dedicated bus and driver: the private operator simply operate the service when needed, exiting its "private" activity for the needed time. It is crucial to foresee in the contract penalties for missing optimization. As the transport has a public nature, it must follow public principle.

Evidence of success

The awarding procedure allowed to SRM (and therefore to the competent Municipality) save 30% on transport costs.
The first proposal of operator was 130.000 for one year of service; after the tender the price was 105.000. The contract should be very flexible, in order to adapt very quickly to real trends. At the second tender -done after the feasibility study delivered in Flipper- SRM could find an agreement with a company of car rental with driver for an experimental year of service for 45.000 €. The efficiency of the service was ensured but the costs paid with public resources decreased.

Contact details to obtain further information on the practice

Dora Ramazzotti


Annex completed on: 03-21-2011

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