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RUMOBIL (Rural Mobility in European Regions affected by Demographic Change) is a transnational cooperation project between public administrations and their regional transport agencies. The aim is the mutual development and testing of new concepts for connecting rural areas particularly affected by demographic change, to regional public transport and interregional traffic routes. RUMOBIL comprises eight different pilot initiatives, which are being implemented across Europe in the respective participant countries.

What do we want to achieve in Saxony-Anhalt?
Through the targeted support of initiatives for the establishment of citizen and community buses, new services are to be established, to improve local mobility and detailed further development in small communities, which represent a practical addition to the existing public transport services.

A clear explanation of the RUMOBIL project is presented in a short video clip. The clip is available via our YouTube channel. .

To the video on YouTube

European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD) Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE

State of Saxony-Anhalt

2016 - 2019

Project website:

Ministry for Regional Development and Transport of the State of Saxony-Anhalt

What is a citizen bus?

Citizen buses are bus routes which are primarily operated by the respective community. Drivers work on a voluntary basis, transporting up to eight of their fellow citizens from A to B in small buses. Drivers do not require a special driving licence for this service. The only requirements are a Class B driving licence and a licence to transport passengers.

Where can a citizen bus be implemented?

A citizen bus is conceivable wherever a need for mobility is not met. This may comprise entire administrative districts that are not connected to the existing route network, or if the nearest stop is located too far away. In practice, citizen buses often operate in small towns and their immediate surroundings, and are mainly used to help senior citizens get to grocery shops or the doctor. In doing so, they also have an important function as a social meeting point. Citizen buses may also be used by commuters to get to the nearest train station. Whatever the case may be, the important thing is that they complement the existing regional public transport service rather than replace it.

Who is to participate in the pilot project?

The key players for a citizen bus service are, of course, the volunteer drivers. To ensure that driving the buses does not become a burden, approximately 15 people must be available to operate the service. Drivers generally organise themselves in an association and additional members will be required to take care of administrative tasks. The start-up phase in particular calls for political support on a local level. The mayor may assume a key role at this stage, as he or she can pave the way for the initiative, and find support for the scheme. Furthermore, the competent administrative district and the local transport company must be brought into the planning process at an early stage. The transport company has extensive knowledge of operating a bus route and possesses the relevant permits for the regular service. The citizen bus can benefit from this by way of close cooperation. The administrative district is the coordinator of regional public transport in its area, it approves transport services and, where applicable, can offset an existing operating cost deficit.

How long is the pilot project due to run and what happens afterwards?

Within the scope of the interregional EU RUMOBIL project, financial and technical support is planned for a period of 12 to 18 months. However, the state intends to continue supporting the newly established citizen or community bus projects beyond this pilot period.

Is a licence or permit required to operate the citizen bus?

The routes to be covered would be serviced by regular passenger cars, for which a licence is required according to the provisions of the German Passenger Transport Act (PBefG). In this regard, it is of practical benefit to cooperate with the local transport company. The least complicated option with regards to fulfilling the requirements of the PBefG is to operate routes which have already been approved for the transport company.

How are the volunteer drivers of the citizen bus insured?

Ideally, the transport company indemnifies the drivers from all liability via its own insurance. In addition to this, we recommend that drivers are registered, via the transport company, with the competent employers' liability insurance association, thereby ensuring that they have statutory accident insurance. The citizen bus association may also register directly with the employers' liability insurance association.

Is the citizen bus association a non-profit association?

Other than in a few exceptional cases, citizen bus associations in Germany are not recognised as non-profit associations. They are taxed as an association with for-profit business operations. However, if the revenue from the service goes directly to the transport company as a transitory item, profits are likely to be lower than the allowance of € 5,000 (for cooperation and trade tax). If the regulation on small business operations is applied, there is also no obligation to pay VAT.

[Translate to Englisch:]

Hier können Sie Materialien des Projekts herunterladen.

Informationsflyer Bürgerbus
Veranstaltungsmaterialien der Infoveranstaltung vom 30.11.2016 im MLV