First Urban Microtransit in Switzerland Takes Off
September 24, 2020 | News
Exciting things are happening in Renens! Since September 2, La Ruche tl (the innovation platform for public transport in the Lausanne region) has launched FlexiBus, a personalized on-demand public transport service. Forget about fixed lines and fixed schedules. Simpler, more flexible and available in less than 10 minutes, FlexiBus supports the inhabitants in their daily activities at the price of a regular bus ticket. It’s the next revolution in public transport and we want you to discover it.
It’s only been one week since the FlexiBus microtransit service was launched, and it is already attracting attention, and riders. In its first week some 900 tl customers registered for the service, and 429 rides have been delivered with an average rate of4.69/5.
The service offers on-demand rides between 47 stops in the Renens neighborhood in a geofenced zone, extending the public bus and train network with transport that is convenient for riders and requires minimal new infrastructure.
Here’s how it works. Customers download the FlexiBus Traveler App, which allows them to book rides between any of the stations in the zone. The app shows the customers the location of the bus, the direction to the pickup station, the pickup time and the ride time to the destination.
Drivers receive their missions through a Driver App when rides are booked. In other words, the bus line is built in real-time, depending on the position of travelers and their destinations.“Fantastic experience to order a FlexiBus ride and see it arrive a few minutes later as if by magic! Nice combination between the advantages of public transport and the flexibility of Uber!” said one happy customer on social medias.
The trial project includes one bus during off-peak hours, and two buses during the morning, lunch and evening commutes. 14% of the rides were booked by calling the tl control room and 86% through the Traveler App. Wait times were 9.97 minutes on average.
“Great! Congratulations! I made 5 trips the first week and I am delighted,” said another customer.
It’s not just the passengers that are happy with the new service but also drivers. Proximity to customers and the use of new technologies for simplified ride management bring a new perspective on their profession.
“FlexiBus brings a real novelty in our daily life. Every ride is unique, and we don’t know what to expect. Moreover, this automated management by the Bestmile platform allows us to have a closer and more privileged contact with each of our customers “said Samir Plisson, Head of Operations for the Vaud-Fribourg region at HelvéCie.
The pilot is carried by La Ruche. Reporting directly to tl management team, LaRuche aims to rapidly implement innovation experiments in real environments to test the potential of larger scale implementations.
La Ruche used Bestmile’s Fleet Orchestration Platform to design and implement the service. Bestmile’s platform sends optimized “missions” to the drivers, matching riders with minibuses to make trips as convenient as possible. The matching, dispatching and routing of the vehicles are managed by the platform in an automated way.
« The launch of a new public transport service usually requires substantial investments and a preparation time of over a year. FlexiBus was created from a blank page and launched in less than 5 months with a limited investment. In addition to allowing us to achieve this feat, the Bestmile platform provides us with real-time supply management based on demand –thus opening up new perspectives for public transport” said Mathieu Menet, head of innovation and of La Ruche.
FlexiBus is the first urban microtransit public transport project in Switzerland; the other pilots having been carried out mainly in rural areas and with non-public transport vehicles.
The FlexiBus pilot project is scheduled to run until October 10, 2020. Based on the results, tl envision the possibility to confirm the service, and even to extend it to other municipalities in the Lausanne region in the years to come.
For more information about the Flexibus service(in French): www.t-l.ch/flexibus
For more information about La Ruche tl (in French): https://www.t-l.ch/la-ruche-tl