Greener, digital, better

Interview with Christian Nicke, Managing Director of Stadtverkehr Detmold GmbH

Christian Nicke, Managing Director of Stadtverkehr Detmold GmbH
Christian Nicke, Managing Director of Stadtverkehr Detmold GmbH

Public transport is an important pillar of tomorrow's mobility. Studies show that consumers are ready for a mobility transition - away from the car, towards more public transport, a reliable and attractive local transport. Stadtverkehr Detmold GmbH (SVD) is well on its way to offering just that. It responds dynamically and flexibly to the demand for green mobility.

At around 25 years old, SVD is a relatively young company in comparison, which sees itself as a reliable service provider for the citizens of the city of Detmold. As such, the company, with 25 employees, focuses on two areas of responsibility: city traffic and the management of car parks in municipal ownership.

In addition, SVD offers sharing pedelecs, cargo bikes, and a small fleet of electric scooters in the sharing sector. To this day, SVD has continuously evolved. In 1994, the first city bus line was introduced – the current line 701, which operates at a 15-minute interval and covers wide areas of the city territory.

Around the city, a dense local transport network has been established over time. With the parking business, a second business area complements the offer. The interlinking of both areas is an important unique selling point. "With the two pillars, we can already make attractive offers before the city's gates," emphasizes Managing Director Christian Nicke. "They enable us to control traffic specifically and are at the same time an important element of the overall strategy of the city of Detmold."

Urban Transportation Detmold - Electric Scooters and City Bus
Electric scooters – an eco-friendly alternative to explore Detmold
Detmold City Transport - Parking Garage at the Tax Office
The SVD wants to make parking easier through digital solutions

New Tickets, New Dynamics

For Managing Director Christian Nicke, the Corona pandemic and the associated lockdown had significant consequences for SVD in the recent past. "Gastronomy and retail were closed, so many had no reason to go into the city," he says. "Parking garages and buses were accordingly empty."

A new dynamic, however, was brought about by the introduction of the 9-Euro ticket and the Germany ticket – important milestones for Christian Nicke. "The Germany ticket has given the industry and us a boost," he says. "In the autumn, we sold around 6,000 tickets; about half of the people who have a Detmold subscription upgraded to enjoy new mobility beyond the city limits. The demand is high."

Improved Service through Digital Solutions

The offer of new tickets comes with increasing digitalization. "Both in the area of parking and local public transport, digital products will play a major role," emphasizes Christian Nicke. "Even though the Detmold subscription is now available as a chip card, digitalization is not yet as tangible for customers as we would like it to be. To take further steps towards the future, we are working with the digitalization team of the city of Detmold."

In the area of parking, digital solutions should also guarantee more comfort and customer friendliness. "Ticketing is a major issue," explains Christian Nicke. "In the future, registered customers should be able to drive directly into a parking garage via license plate recognition, be registered, and leave. Billing will be automatic."

Green Mobility on Demand

Besides digitalization, climate protection represents a serious challenge. "An important project for the coming years is the SVD climate plan," says Christian Nicke. "We are intensively dealing with alternative drives for the buses and hope that this plan will be implemented into practice before the end of the decade. To make a significant contribution to CO2 reduction, broad measures are necessary. In public transportation, an important component of sustainable regional mobility, the trend is moving towards 'on demand'; gaps should be closed on request in terms of time and space, late at night for example by dial-a-ride taxis. With attractive mobility offers, we want to make Detmold even more attractive."