The S-Bahn (suburban railway) system was started in December 2007, and was a major challenge for Styria and its capital Graz (population around 280,000): about 150 additional train connections on working days from and to Graz were established. The introduction of the suburban railway system was a great success. Many people now are encouraged to go by train to work or travel to their leisure destinations by public transport.
The introduction of the suburban railway has been accompanied by a powerful marketing campaign. Car drivers were informed via traffic message channels about the new public transport offer, while a road show informed interested people at various mobility events. A manual, "How to use public transport", was produced and sent to every household in the catchments area of the suburban railway together with the timetable. And, last but not least, on the suburban railway website, a fare saving calculator showed people how much money they could save by going by train instead of going by car.
All in all, the province of Styria is investing about €18.5m per year in the suburban railway and we think this is a good investment. We see the success not only in the increase in the number of passengers (additional 64% in the last nine years) but also in the improving attitude towards public transport as a whole.