Volkswagen has started a smart mobility service on the Greek island of Astypalea. The ridesharing service “ASTYBUS” and the vehicle sharing service “astyGO” were put into operation last week in the presence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.
Both mobility services are operating exclusively with fully electric vehicles and ensure significantly improved mobility on the island compared to the previous public transport system. It’s the next step in the transformation of Astypalea: By 2026, the island wants to switch to smart, sustainable mobility and completely modernize its energy system. The joint project of the Volkswagen Group and the Hellenic Republic serves as a future laboratory for a rapid decarbonization in Europe.
The smart mobility services replace a traditional bus line, which has so far offered limited public transport on Astypalea. Unlike the bus line, the mobility services will be in operation all year round and will connect many more places on the island. The ASTYBUS ridesharing service will start operation with five vehicles of the Volkswagen ID. Buzz once the model has been launched in autumn 2022. Until then, the service will be operated with the ID.4.
“astyGO is a sharing offer, allowing people to book e-bikes, electric cars and e-scooters. ASTYBUS, on the other hand, is a ridesharing service, taking passengers to almost 30 destinations on the island,” explains Volkswagen’s project leader, Virginie Robin. “Customers can pay per ride or book a flat rate. We also offer an inexpensive annual ticket for 60 euros to the islanders.”
Via the vehicle sharing service astyGO, customers can rent electric cars from Volkswagen as well as e-scooters from SEAT MÓ and e-bikes from Ducati.
The centerpiece of the new mobility offers on Astypalea is the astyMOVE app, developed by SEAT:CODE. “What makes Astypalea special is the multimodal solution we implemented, based on our Giravolta software platform. On-demand buses, carsharing, electric scooters and bicycles – all in one app,” says Jordi Abad, technical director for mobility at SEAT:CODE. The intuitive smartphone app is available to locals and tourists alike.
Athanasia Sismani lives on Astypalea and has already tried the app. “I think the app is very easy to use. I choose where I am and where I want to go, and in a few minutes the bus arrives,” says the young Greek woman. After the booking, the bus drives to the respective stops, that are close together, and serves all the busy places on the island. astyMOVE is available for download immediately from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
The number of electric vehicles on Astypalea is growing continuously. After the police, airport authorities and the municipality switched to e-mobility last year, now Greece’s first electric ambulance is being added. A first e-taxi transports customers across the island and recently, the first private customer received his ID.3. The Hellenic Republic promotes the switch to e-mobility with attractive purchase premiums.