The Bürgerbus Dreisam Stromer is a community-based transport service operated in Kirchzarten, Germany. The municipality of Kirchzarten is located in the area of Freiburg in Breisgau, centrally in the valley of the Dreisam river, in the Southern Black Forest Nature Park – Baden-Württemberg. The Freiburg town is only 11 Km west of Kirchzarten.
Approximately, Kirchzarten has around 9,500 inhabitants spread on a district area of 2,113 ha, of which 531 ha are in the Burg district and 416 ha in the Zarten district. It is the seat of the Dreisamtal municipal administration association, which includes the municipalities of Buchenbach, Kirchzarten, Oberried, and Stegen and the two heritage sites of St. Peter and St. Märgen.
The Regio-Verkehrsverbund Freiburg (RVF) is the regional public transport authority of the area. Its network covers the city of Freiburg and the districts of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald and Emmendingen. The RVF offers uniform tariffs for local public transport. It groups 18 different transport companies which carry out around 125 million passengers annually.
The Bürgerbus Dreisam-Stromer project was started in 2014 from the EWK “Impuls”, a local initiative which aimed to investigate the major needs of the local households and finding ways to address these needs through a co-participatory way. In around three years, the idea of developing a local transport service entirely managed by volunteers was made concrete.
Currently, the Bürgerbus Dreisam-Stromer operates a service that runs on more than 60 stops along four different lines. The service is operated thanks to the large participation of volunteer drivers. The service is free of charge and is strongly sponsored by local shops, banks, etc. It provides access to areas where the conventional PT service is weak or doesn’t exist at all. All users benefit from a service that runs four times per day. It is particularly important for the elderly and people with reduced mobility, which use the service for visits, shopping, and leisure activities.
The Bürgerbus Dreisam Stromer, in just three years, achieved impressive results. In all respects, a conventional transport service is operated on four different lines with minimum operational costs, thanks to the participation of a huge number of volunteers. The Bürgerbus Dreisam Stromer is now looking at possible strategies for expanding the area covered to a number of surrounding municipalities, and to the addition of another bus to the service. This option is being investigating also in the light of possible integration of the community-service with the conventional service operated by RVF and further shared mobility services that could be developed in the area, such as carpooling and organised hitchhiking. The aim would be to improve the mobility opportunities of the local inhabitants, as well as the accessibility of the whole area of Dreisamtal.