How are you incorporating affected industries in the new mobility concept?
During this transformation, we are facing similar challenges as the rest of Europe. Car rental companies fear that vehicle sharing will bring new competition from the outside. They are also sceptical of an efficient public transport system. That is understandable, as, if the system works well, fewer tourists will rent a car for their full stay. We have come to an agreement with our rental companies and the Volkswagen Group that a vehicle sharing service will be implemented and operated only in cooperation with them. Our entrepreneurs and Volkswagen general importer Kosmocar will be involved. There will not be any publicly operated vehicle sharing.
We have made it clear to the car rental companies that it would be better for them not to resist what is coming, but to address the change to electromobility now. They can now get Volkswagen cars at attractive prices – the state offering up to € 15,000 of financial support for each car, including the scrapping premium. Who knows how the programme will change in the future. What if, in a few years’ time, our car rental companies suddenly have to completely change their business model and are not prepared for the change? Then it is a realistic prospect that international companies will come to the island with a lot of money and force them out of the market. Not everyone can see this reality. However, it will come about if our entrepreneurs do not do something. We have to act now, when we have the opportunity.
As far as public transport is concerned, there is one private bus operator on Astypalea, which will be involved in the new shuttle on demand system. Up to now, it has only operated its bus network in the peak season. There has been nothing for the rest of the year. That will no longer be the case with our public system.