By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information.
October 25, 2023

5 on-demand public transport services that are doing more with less

Liftango explores 5 on-demand public transport services across the globe that have seen success since introducing demand responsive technology & service design.

What’s a Rich Text element?

test caption

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

At a time where operators and public transport providers are facing pressures to reduce costs and prioritise efficiency, we’re exploring creative ways in which on-demand public transport enables efficiency so that more can be done with less. Examples here could include introducing a brand new service that utilises an on-demand transport app to better serve local communities, or enhancing an existing fixed route service with a more flexible alternative. In this article we highlight five ways in which Liftango is helping transport operators and councils to generate results through on-demand public transport whilst optimising their service offering.

1. Expanding and optimising coverage through FRODO: JustGo, UK

North Lincolnshire Council wished to replace their previous dial-a-ride service with a technology enabled on-demand public transport service. Launched in September 2020, the service operates as a multi-zonal service, extending the capture range of existing commercial public transport routes and providing critical transport links to those not served by the fixed route network.

North Lincolnshire Council was seeking a solution that would allow them to supplement their existing fixed route network without cannibalising trips to expand network coverage as well as provide them with better data outputs to inform future decision-making. The proposed DRT service zone was 876 sq. kilometres, 10 times larger than typical rural services, making this a complex project. Solutions included routing vehicles to strategic break points in between passenger trips to ensure even vehicle spread for anticipated passenger demand, and using fixed route on-demand optimisation (FRODO) to identify and exclude known fixed-route transit corridors to prevent existing route cannibalisation.

Liftango’s solution included a back-office operations system, a driver app and an on-demand transport app for passengers. It created a technology-driven way to combine both Community Transportation and Public Transportation trips within the one fleet, thereby improving the overall efficiency of the fleet. The JustGo on-demand public transport service launched mid-pandemic in September 2020 and quickly became a critical service to essential workers such as teachers, NHS staff and other key workers living in rural areas across North Lincolnshire. Post-lockdown in 2021, operations expanded to include an additional vehicle.

In July 2022, the Liftango Labs team worked with North Lincolnshire Council to complete a review of the service and analyse options for further optimisation. The outcome of this collaborative process was a change in zone design to increase service capacity and reduce cost per trip, as well as improving the overall service to result in more patronage. Results so far include 275,000 trips, 7,000 users (10% of which in wheelchairs or with other mobility needs), and 0 fixed-route cannibalised trips due to a successful FRODO integration.

Learn more about this case study here.

2. A sustainable EV, on-demand public transport commuter service: AT Local, NZ

AT Local is a DRT replacement service for the largest transport agency in New Zealand. Its fully-electric vehicle (EV) fleet provides convenient, sustainable and affordable on-demand public transport services across three towns in Auckland. 

Papakura is a fast-growing area and is outpacing the average employment growth of New Zealand. Auckland Transport identified the need to improve transport services in this region and decarbonise transport as a regional priority. They approached Liftango with the challenge to create a climate-conscious and competitive travel option for commuters that improves access to services and employment opportunities whilst increasing ridership across the Auckland Transport network.

The result was the new AT Local service - a fully electric, on-demand public transport service - that replaced a fixed route operated with diesel buses. The solution integrated with Auckland Transport’s Identity Management System and Payment Gateway, allowing passengers to seamlessly transition from rail or fixed-route modes to the on-demand service using only their HOP card. A flexible break structure was also implemented in order to manage and optimise EV fleet charging protocols.

AT Local has increased ridership on the Auckland Transport network, increasing monthly trips compared with the removed route and now produces twice as many rides as the removed route. Now, public transport coverage extends to an additional 6,400 residents (38% increase). Over 20,000 trips have been completed through the on-demand transport app and 100 tonnes of CO2 removed due to removing the fixed route and switching to a fully electric fleet.

Learn more about this case study here

3. A flexible county-wide service for unserved populations: BCGo, US

BCGo, an accessible, on-demand public transport service, was launched after transit studies found that existing operations were not meeting estimated demand levels across Calhoun County, US. The study found that approximately 70,000 trips were being provided annually by current operators, whilst the estimated demand came to 92,000. 

The local transit network was already under pressure, in a county where large amounts of the population do not own personal vehicles due to factors such as lower income or having accessibility requirements. There were coverage and service gaps identified across the county where fixed route transit and tele-transit services did not operate, leaving vulnerable populations without transport or easy access to amenities. 

As a result, Battle Creek Transit and Liftango partnered to launch BCGo, a county-wide, door-to-door on-demand public transport service. Small in scale but flexible and easy to use, the 2 vehicle fleet can be booked by the public. Users can book their trip through Liftango’s BCGo on-demand transport app or through a call centre, ensuring an accessible booking service for those without a smartphone. The service is also equipped to accommodate riders in wheelchairs, which has been a great benefit as 6.5% of BCGo trips are made up of wheelchair users. 

Initially launched in March 2021, the popularity of the service within the community has since led to an extension of the program and new investment from local employers to double fleet vehicles. There have been over 18,500 trips completed, over 2,700 users have signed up to use the service, and 96% of trips have been completed on time or early. A dedicated Liftango user survey also found that customers really value the service provided, helping them solve problems including having no access to a car, being able to afford transportation and reducing stressful commutes.

Learn more about this case study here.

Want to dive deeper?
Want to dive deeper?

Introducing the Definitive Guide to Rural DRT.

Download for free

4. Launching on-demand alongside fixed route: eBus OnDemand, NZ

In August 2023, Nelson City Council and Liftango launched a new on-demand and fixed route transport solution in New Zealand. The new demand responsive service, eBus OnDemand, replaced a previous fixed route to optimise vehicle and route usage as part of a more sustainable, efficient transport model. 

Starting with a single vehicle and with exciting future growth plans, Nelson City Council chose Liftango for the platform’s flexibility, scalability and ease of implementation. The on-demand public transport service launched as a key part of Nelson City Council’s transport strategy alongside the city-wide eBus network. 

Using the Liftango platform means that both fixed route and on-demand services are maximised. It allows Nelson City Council to provide frequency of services connecting different regions while maintaining equity of access to public transport in the Stoke region by offering on-demand transport for local travel purposes. To prevent cannibalisation of the region’s existing routes, the platform incorporates both fixed route and on-demand options, providing convenient transport solutions that work for both passenger and operator. 

eBus OnDemand covers a wider area than the previous fixed route, but the flexibility of on-demand public transport bookings and routing reduces the amount of time passengers need to wait for a vehicle and minimise the amount of unnecessary driving for the bus. 

Find out more about this project here.

5. Improving access and increasing journeys across rural Scotland: m.connect, UK

On-demand public transport service, m.connect, launched in 2023 across rural Moray, North East Scotland as an enhanced iteration of the previous Dial M for Moray bus service. It aims to reduce transport barriers in isolated areas and increase the number of people using public transport in the region.

Moray Council knew that transport was a barrier for people wanting to take part in activities, commute to work and generally get around the region, and this was affecting the local economy. The biggest issue to overcome was the lack of mobile reception in the local area. Following a successful trial period, Liftango was able to overcome the mobile network and reception issues in Moray to provide a fully-functioning and efficient digital solution for both passengers and the service operator.

The new and improved, digitalised, on-demand public transport service covers the entire Moray area, including five transport zones using 14 vehicles. Using Liftango’s technology, passengers use an easy-to-use on-demand transport app for quick, flexible bookings (from two weeks in advance to one hour before travel) and journey planning alongside the booking phone line. Features such as journey creation and management, bus ticketing, vehicle tracking and journey notifications mean that journeys are entirely frictionless for passengers. This technology aims to open up the service to a new demographic and increase the overall number of journeys made.

This new digital service, alongside increased marketing spend and enhanced vehicle availability, led to a significant increase in passenger journeys by 30% in the first month alone. 

Find out more about this project here.

Intrigued by how on-demand public transport can help you do more with less resources? Whether it’s focusing on creating more sustainable services, driving down operational costs, or increasing ridership, our team of Mobility Strategists can help you with where to start. Contact us to get the ball rolling.

About the Author