The aim of the “INTERFACE” initiative is to revitalize passenger traffic on ferries. “INTERFACE PLUS” is an upgrade to the South Baltic project “INTERFACE”, which set the process to revert these trends in motion. The “parent project” was approved in the 2nd Call for Proposals.
“INTERFACE PLUS” complements the “INTERFACE” initiative in two ways:
- The services for foot passengers on the axis Rostock – Gedser are further improved. In close cooperation with the Rostock – Gedser ferry line operator Scandlines, the Public Transport Association Warnow, the Public Transport Operator “Movia” and Guldborgsund Municipality sets up a dynamic passenger information system between Rostock Inner City and Nykøbing City Centre. It gives travellers real-time information on schedules, delays or transfer times that are available on screens at busses, terminals and stations. The system starts operating in 2012, when new ferries with larger passenger capacities arrive on the route. It will be the first cross-border information facility of its kind in the Baltic Sea Region.
- The initiative extends its geographic scope by integrating a further link. Existing passenger lines between Northern Poland and the Danish island of Bornholm are improved on the basis of the approach and lessons learnt within the INTERFACE project. Municipalities and sea ports cooperate in optimising sailing times and hinterland connections, promoting the routes as well as improving passenger services. This includes the (re-)construction of the terminals in Ustka, Darlowo and Nexø. The new facilities are opened in summer 2013. They are designed in view of accommodating a car ferry connection that is envisaged in medium term.
Main activities and achievements so far (state: 31 Dec 2014): - Setting up the dynamic passenger information system between Rostock Inner City and Nykobing City Centre: INTERFACE PLUS creates the first cross-border information facility of its kind in the Baltic Sea Region.
Not all challenges along the foot passenger transport chain from Rostock to Nykøbing were clearly visible in the beginning. The first step was therefore to jointly analyse the status quo and to shape the technical-organisational concept for the system. Partners informed each other about technical and organisational prerequisites on Danish and German side during mutual on-site visits. Thus, prerequisites and necessary steps for creating a joint technical-organisational structure could be clarified. On this basis, the elaboration of the concrete concept started.
Locations for the DPIS boards and interfaces to public transport, port authorities and ferries were determined. The needs for extending and linking the traffic control centres were identified. The outline of the cross-border DPIS was defined. The technical implementation started and is to be finalised step-by-step and in all its elements by the end of March 2015.
In parallel, INTERFACE PLUS strengthened its fundaments: A new online booking system for the "INTERCOMBI-Ticket" (cross-border combination ticket) was launched on 1 Dec 2011 (www.intercombi-ticket.de). It makes it even easier to travel along the improved foot passenger transport chain Rostock - Gedser - Nykøbing that was established within the "parent project" INTERFACE. - Upgrading the ferry services between Poland and Bornholm: First, the knowledge base was broadened and inspirations collected.
A study trip on ferry terminal design acquainted Partners with inspiring examples in Denmark / Sweden and lessons learnt within the parent project INTERFACE. Market surveys and dialogue with tourist actors examined travel motivations and scope for marketing measures.
Dialogue workshops with port & ferry operators clarified demands from their sides. Options for achieving the re-launch of the lines Ustka / Darlowo – Nexø, which were suspended in 2011, were examined. The partners achieved that both services were temporarily re-opened for a test season in 2013. Subsequently, the ferry operator KZP committed to long-term servicing of the Darlowo - Nexo line.
The partners support the re-launch of the service by marketing measures to make trips from Darlowo to Bornholm - and vice versa - even more popular. In parallel, the planning processes for (re-)constructing the ferry terminal buildings in Darlowo and Nexø were carried out. The ferry terminal in Nexo was renovated and re-opened in April 2013. A new terminal in Darlowo is to be opened on 27 April 2015.
As further investment to fill "missing links" in the cross-border transport chain, former fishermen sheds in Nexø were converted into small cottages and are offered to tourists for rent since May 2012. They enable cheap overnight stays close to the ferry terminal and shall attract more Poles for multi-day trips.