I conducted a field survey of local residents' led community bus "Cosmos Nanso" which is operated mainly by local residents in Ichihara city, Chiba prefecture.
"Cosmos Nanso" aims to solve transportation blank area in Ichihara city. Also, Ichihara city supports management council which local residents who are familiar with local transportation circumstance mainly lead from financial side. They effectively utilize existing transportation facilities such as Kominato Railway and build a mode of operation that takes regional characteristics into account.
In addition, the subsidy from the city is one half of the operation expenses and the region side is responsible for the shortage, and administrative officials and transport operators remain at the advisor, it is determined as a local residents-centered management. Moreover, for the purpose of nurturing the consciousness of the parties of the residents, they are collecting contributions and registration fees per household and acquiring donations.
The bus itself was a small bus and the capacity is about 36 people, it was not a non-step specification.
|The appearance of the bus||The appearance of the bus
It is a two step bus for wheelchairs.
|Inside of the bus (behind)
||Inside of the bus (front)|
|Rear of bus
There are shops and companies’ name who are investor of the bus.
First, although I thought that elderly people are mainly ride on, the driver said that the shoppers who go to supermarkets which is in the middle of operation route are mainly use the bus.
Certainly, there was a supermarket’s flyer inside of bus.
Also, the last stop of the bus which I got on was changed from originally last stop, “Cardiovascular disease center” to “Nanso Middle School”.
The driver said that the most of users are shoppers and elderly people are not the main of users, so depending on the day, it may be shorten the route without going to the end point.
Moreover, we will explain about the fare. This community bus fare is 280 yen if you ride on to the “Cardiovascular disease center”, the last stop, but if you ride on to the other bus stop, you have to pay only 210 yen of 170 yen. In conclusion, the bus fare is not uniformity.
Also, the bus lines and taxis operated in Ichihara City including Cosmos Nanso are issuing preferential tickets for discount fares to elderly people who voluntarily return their driver's license.
Mode of operation
A picture of a time table
Cosmos Nanso is operated five times a day both Kofudai station→Cardiovascular disease center and Cardiovascular disease center→Kofudai station.
Also, the bus is not operated in Saturday, Sunday and holiday.
First of all, it is about user group and correspondence to demand. As mentioned earlier in the ride report, not only elderly people but also shoppers are the center of users in the Cosmos Nanso. There are several supermarkets used by the housewife in the operation route, and the leaflets of those supermarkets who are investors have been affixed.
Because users can get the best information of the destination supermarket, I thought that it might be helpful to promote shopper usage.
Also, for supermarkets, there are possibilities that users who have seen leaflets that posted bargain information positively go shopping, so there are merits that the number of users and profit will increase.
Therefore, I thought that supermarket invested in community bus and advertised with leaflets was an effective measure to promote the use of shoppers who accounted for the majority of users and increase the profit of supermarkets.
Next, it is about a system that does not operate with a uniform fare and the fare changes depending on the distance from the departure point.
This bus takes 280 yen only when going to the "Cardiovascular Disease Center" at the end point, 170 yen or 210 yen at other bus stops. In general community buses is often the case to operate with a uniform fare of 100 yen following the famous "Mu-bus" as a success example, and the fare of 170 to 280 yen is higher than other community buses.
Nonetheless, the fact that the number of users is stable means that it is necessary to board the Cardiovascular disease center, which is increased to 280 yen due to clinic visits because medical condition, and elderly people who cannot drive private cars. We predicted that there is a background such as shoppers do not hesitate because there are cheap fares to supermarkets where they can do shopping.
Also, depending on the day, it is not necessarily a bus to the end of the bus but it is about a system that carries out to the bus stop on the way. In order to raise the profit despite the fare which can not be said to be cheap in the community bus as described above, in addition to securing a sufficient number of users, the funds spent on the operation such as fuel cost and the number of users. I think that the cost effectiveness of the company is importantbr> In other words, as long as you do not have demand, the more you run the fuel, the lower the fuel cost, so the cost performance will be bad for the number of users and the cost effectiveness will be low. Therefore, we thought that short-distance operation was carried out on days when more than a certain number of users could not be expected, so it is maintaining high cost performance against operating expenses.
Finally, it is about the service issuing a freight discount ticket to the elderly who voluntarily returned the driver's license. Since this service has the danger that elderly people who are difficult to drive private cars by themselves drive accident by driving a car and causing an accident, the autonomy of licenses system is effectively using the mechanism of returning.
Not only preventing accidents of the elderly, but also it is being able to play an active role as a leg of the new life of elderly people whose transportation method has been reduced by returning a license. In addition, elderly people can go to hospital or railway station where they usually use and they have to pay less fare. Therefore, this service is effective for improving the area’s and keeping the quality of elderly people’s life.
Because "Cosmos Nanso" is a local community-led community bus, it is considered that flexible operation that can match the local circumstances and secure profits is done. In addition, countermeasures taking into consideration the local safety, such as prevention of accidents of elderly people, are being taken.
Even though it is a high fare for community buses, by considering the needs of the local residents and the breakdown of the users' layers firmly, various measures are taken to maintain high cost-effectiveness and to make profit sufficiently I realized it. Therefore, even in other areas where the number of users does not increase despite running at a cheap fare such as the 100 yen flat fare, not necessarily focusing on 100 yen uniformity, even in the regional circumstances such as the population. If they devise such as constructing the optimum form of operation for the region with the aim of aiming to increase the number of users, I thought that stable management could be carried out.