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Member in the Spotlight: The new interurban bus network in Catalonia with high level of service (BHLS)

04 December 2012

The bus networks with high level of service (BHLS) around Europe are mainly characterised by buses with high frequency using modern, sustainable and accessible vehicles, with high commercial speed, real-time information at stops, dedicated bus lanes and high demand. In the case of Catalonia, a new interurban bus network called ‘exprés. cat’ has been implemented since October 2012 in order to meet the large increase in demand during the last ten years (57%).

Nowadays, the interurban bus network of Catalonia is made up of more than 700 lines with 53.3 million trips per year (2011). The new ‘exprés.cat’ network covers 40 lines which together represent 40% of demand, with an average occupancy of 30 passengers per journey.

The project represents a firm commitment of the Government to promote interurban buses as an efficient and competitive mode of transport to connect quickly, sustainably and economically the main places of Catalonia which are experiencing the greatest increase in mobility demand.

The implementation of the network will be progressive and began in October 2012 with the first 4 new lines which will link four different cities with Barcelona. Moreover, these lines will run on the new HOV-BUS lane, which has a length of 6.8 km and is located on one of the most congested highways to Barcelona (C-58). This new HOV-BUS lane requires an expected investment of 80M€.

Main characteristics of ‘exprés.cat’

  • High frequency in peak hours and new direct bus services.
  • High and competitive commercial speed: use of HOV-BUS lanes, priority at traffic intersections, etc.
  • Real-time information to the user: bus stops with dynamic information panels updated in real time as well as information inside the vehicle.
  • These lines are part of the integrated fare system.
  • More intermodality with other modes of transport.
  • 100% accessible vehicles for disabled people.
  • More sustainable and comfortable vehicles: use of biodiesel and wifi inside the buses.
  • New image: the new express bus network will be promoted under a new corporate image, ‘exprés.cat’, which brings visibility to the user and facilitates rapid identification.
  • Public-private financing: The network is being financed through a public-private partnership, involving the public transport operators (private companies) running the services on these corridors and the Government. Specifically, the new vehicles will be funded by the operators (66%) and the Government (33%), while the new image brand and image will be assumed by operators and the real-time information system will be assumed by the Government.

‘Exprés.cat’ network: 40 lines around Catalonia

The ‘exprés.cat’ network comprises 40 interurban bus lines representing 40% of demand and connecting different large/medium-size cities with the four main cities of Catalonia: Barcelona (19 lines), Girona (7 lines), Tarragona (7 lines) and Lleida (7 lines).

The first 4 lines

The main features of the first four lines are:

  • 1:Barcelona-Sabadell (new direct line): 15 minute frequency in peak hours (8 hours/day). Duration of trip: 30 minutes. Seven bus stops with real-time information. Vehicles are 100% accessible for disabled people. Wifi inside the vehicles. Intermodality with urban buses, metro and trains.
  • 2:Barcelona-Terrassa (new direct line): 20 minute frequency in peak hours (8 hours/day). Duration of trip: 40 minutes. Nine bus stops with real time information. Vehicles are 100% accessible for disabled people. Wifi inside the vehicle. Intermodality with urban buses, metro and trains.
  • 3:Barcelona-Cerdanyola-University UAB: 20-minute frequency in peak hours (9 hours/day). Duration of trip: 45 minutes. Nine bus stops with real time information. Vehicles are 100% accessible for disabled people. Wifi inside the vehicle. Intermodality with urban buses, metro and trains. Access to the University.
  • 4:Barcelona-Ripollet: 10-minute frequency in peak hours and new service in august and at weekends. Duration of trip: 30 minutes. Fourteen bus stops with real time information. Vehicles 100% accessible for disabled people. Wifi inside the vehicle. Intermodality with urban buses, metro and trains. Use of biodiesel.

For further information, contact: Cristina Pou