Before going to Texel, we had two interviews with TU Delft students who came from Texel and are living in Delft or around Delft at the moment. For this we were focussing on the use of private cars, bicycles, public transport and our new ideas for transport in the future. We see the future of the mobility in the Netherlands and therefore also on Texel with vehicles which are ‘automated’ and powered by local sources. This automated vehicles will not be implemented soon, so for this reason we came up with some short term initiatives and asked their opinion about this.
1. De vrachtfiets/ Different types of bicycles.
A bike you can hire this vehicle to transport your luggage to the place you stay.
2. Suitable electrical vehicles
This is a sustainable solution for cars or other motorised vehicles on Texel. This vehicle is matching with the weather conditions on Texel and the distance and speed people travel on the island.
3. Intelligent cycle paths.
This paths give light when someone is passing by due to sensors. It can also make intersections more safe for especially bicycles.
Male, 27 years, maritime engineer student at TU Delft
This student is going around 5 times a year to the island to visit his parents, but he lived his childhood on the island. He mostly goes with public transport and he is being picked up by car on Texel. Travelling by bicycle is very adequate in his opinion. As long as you do not need to go to the Cocksdorp, everything is fine. He never makes use of any bike rental, because his parents have bicycles he uses, but he thinks the bicycle rental shops on Texel are quite adequate. This student is using public transport on the island to go to the ferry sometimes. Never to other places, before he moved to Delft he also never used it to travel to other places. He would cycle to every part of the island. For traveling to the ferry the frequency is perfect, but not really punctual, but he never missed the ferry when traveling by bus. The accessibility to the island’s locations are not great. He says he is lucky that his parents live in Den Burg close to a bus stop. On the other hand, the solution of the Texelhopper is very poor for villages in his opinion, because they are used to be connected to regular bus lines. Also for tourists the information is not clear and to pay with cash is not client friendly. Besides this, for his personal needs there is no need for change.
About the ideas we had for the short term future, he thinks the freight bicycle is most likely to happen, because it will be a pleasant means of transportation for backpackers. But as an addition to this, people usually come to Texel by car to have the advantage of loading their luggage at home and be able to drive all the way to their destination without having to repack the luggage. The biggest challenge for idea vrachtfiets and suitable electrical vehicles is how to get people on the island without the fuzz of their luggage. People going camping with their own tent are an extreme example of this problem. To make our ideas become better, we need to try think of a way that people can come to the island easily with their luggage. The bus between the train station and the ferry is a big obstacle for people who want to take a serious suitcase. As a conclusion he said that bicycle suitability should remain a major interest. The distances are suitable for it. However, the people living/working on the island will still need mechanized transport for their goods/visits.
M. van der Steeg
Male, 24 years, student Urbanism TU Delft
He goes once every 2 or 3 weeks to the island, to visit his parents or for other obligations (e.g. parties, birthdays). He uses the train, bus, boat and the small texelhopper for this. If he is on the island for one weekend, he usually use the car on Saturday once or twice, mostly the road between Oosterend – Den Burg. Traveling by bike is rather adequate (extensive network of bicycle paths). But now there is an OV-bike dispensal at the ferry, but such a service could (or should) also be extended to other parts of the island (e.g. making some sort of a depot near the ferry at Vlieland, making it possible to go “island hopping”.
It depends on the the time he spends on Texel, but when he is there for a week or so, he usually uses the Smaller Texelhopper once or twice, depending on his obligations. The frequency of the public transport he rates with a 6, once every hour is understandable, but it is not very “welcoming”. Punctuality is an 8. Most of the time, the small busses are even waiting for you before your departure time, which is nice. The accessibility to the island’s locations are a 9, because this has improved greatly with the implementation of Texelhopper. His conclusion about the Texelhopper
is that the idea of reserving a trip is, against his own expectations, less of a burden than the previous system was. Also, it is rather a fast system, especially at moment when there aren’t a lot of other travellers, and they don’t have to take a detour. The prices is, for normal travellers, rather high (3 euro’s for a single trip, per person), but they are about to make some adjustments. A bonus advantage for him is that he travels for free, since he is a student with parents on Texel, and not only on the days that he can travel for free with my OV-chipcard, but every day. Some critical points could be that the OV-chipcard is not valid on Texelhopper. Since a few years, almost everyone has bought such a card, but now they decided to get rid of it, and work with single tickets (you can also buy a single card, but with a barcode instead of a chip). Furthermore, the “bus-on-boat” system is very inconvenient: there is often not enough space to get into the bus, let alone if you have a stroller or a wheelchair. Luckily, they are going to change this back on the 1st of April. Another critic is that communication about the project is limited, which adds insult to injury in his opinion. If the company and the responsible alderman are honest about the project, it would be ok, as long as he admits that there are things that can be improved (The alderman for transport doesn’t use the Texelhopper himself, which he thinks is shameful, especially since this man keeps saying that it’s such a good public transport option). To make the public transport in Texel more adequate for his needs, he would change some aspects. He already mentioned, they are going to change a few things, which is in his opinion good, and answers to the need of many travellers. However, he thinks that the implementation of the OV-chipcard is vital in making the project a success, even if it is only on the main busline 28.
About the initiatives, he thinks the intelligence cycle paths are most likely to happen. On Texel, they are currently in the process of changing all public lighting, even removing a lot of it in the areas outside of main villages. A large complaint from bicyclers is that it is becoming too dark, and people can’t see the road anymore. Also, such a system could add the most to Texel as an innovative place (many theories and technologies are tested on Texel). He wants to add that Texel has already quite an extensive network of charging points (one of the first networks in the Netherlands), and there are already quite a few electrical vehicles. They are also proposing to do further investigation on driving on hydrogen, which would be even more important. He don’t thinks that the environment on Texel is especially hard, or at least not of such significance that “special cars” are needed.
He notices that we have to take into account that Tesselaars are rather stubborn. New is often seen as wrong, and if some people could, they would ban cars altogether and let people travel by horse (a bit of an exaggeration he says, but we get his point). It is important that we keep innovative things low-scale. For example, we shouldn’t make glowing bicycle paths everywhere, but just on some main routes between villages for example. Also, we have to keep it simple (glowing paths IS simple). Lastly, we should keep in mind that the people on Texel don’t have a lot of congestion problems in his perception (the vrachtfiets is therefore a great innovation for cities like Delft, but it wouldn’t be very necessary on Texel due to the difference in scale and problems). Besides this, if we implement them as some sort of God, we will fail. We should probably strive for something large in the beginning, but we will get a lot of resistance. We need to show that we listen, and alter the plan (to the plan we actually had, which was more low-scale. Now, more people will feel like “hey, they made a concession, that is cool. Now I’m ok with this”). The students says that our ideas are based on already existing concepts, which is good, but we could also look for more experimental things (like the hydrogen car) or for example glowing algea lamps (or something), that makes it more attractive for pedestrian within villages to leave the car and go walking of cycling). Or maybe we should do something with local elements, like sheep, maybe driving on sheep poo or something? (it is a bit silly, but again, we get his point, we could also drive on sea water, which is more realistic).
As a conclusion he thinks mobility has improved with the implementation of the smaller busses of Texelhopper and the increase of access points. However, this system is, in his view, only partially looking to the two different dynamics that exist on Texel (very busy in summer, much more quite in Winter (although the “low-season” is becoming increasingly busier)).