During the months August to October in 2018, four focus groups of the HiReach project were held. Two included young migrants; the first focus group consisted of two men and two women all living in remote/rural areas of Luxembourg. The second focus group consisted of three men and one woman, of which one lived in the centre of Luxembourg city, the others again in remote/rural areas. The other two focus groups were conducted with people living in remote rural areas. In the first focus group session, six persons participated; in the second session four persons (only women) participated.

The aim of these focus groups was to highlight the main mobility problems and needs of the different vulnerable social groups. 

During the focus groups conducted with the migrants, it can be stated that the bus is their primary mode of transport while commuting to Luxembourg City centre on a regular basis. Besides two participants, who use the car as their primary mode of transport to commute to Luxembourg City centre on a daily basis, the migrants indicated their wish to buy a car and use it as their primary mode of transport if they have the financial means and the possibility to use their driving license. The car is seen by all migrants as a convenient mode to travel outside of Luxembourg and to do weekend trips.

The migrants that participated in the focus groups have in general no problems in particular with understanding the public transport network in comparison to the resident population. Especially the younger ones are well acquainted with internet and smartphone applications.

Their mobility needs include meeting friends, having personal appointments, education and sports. None of the participants (is by legislation allowed to) work at a regular job. One observation that could be made was that the migrants had more mobility needs in terms of travel to the city centre for education and administration. Yet in that respect they seem to be in line with young natives that due to circumstances (in this case due to the attribution of a residence in a rural area) moved from an urbanised environment (in their country of departure).

No particular discrimination was reported during travel. This might be due to the fact that public transport is free for refugees (so no particular issues with ticket control). The high diversity of the Luxembourgish population might also be a reason for a lack of particular discrimination experiences.

The main transport issue is related to the location of their housing. The last buses in the evening, driving to the rural places as well as within the city, are too early which limits the participation in social life. In addition, the frequency of buses on the weekend is too low (e.g. one bus per hour) which results in only highly planned and anticipated mobility. Taxis are widely regarded as very expensive and therefore not considered a mobility option.

This is also the main issue stated from the participants living in remote areas. Most of the participants live in the neighbouring countries (especially France) and work in Luxembourg (especially Luxembourg city). However, the participants can´t afford to live in Luxembourg due to high housing prices. This can be explained due to the concentration of the economic activity in the south. Large differences in real estate market prices, yet also a widely shared desire to access homeownership leads to an increasing distance between home and job location. In particular the younger generations tend to move further away from the cities toward the urban periphery, rural areas, or even beyond the borders. This creates a diffuse urbanization resulting in longer average journeys and an increased need for mobility hence transport poverty. When having access to a car the perceived social exclusion relates to the time spent in transport and the household budget spent on transportation.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

1st round of Focus groups in Luxembourg with migrants and people living in remote areas


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