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October 10, 2023

JustGo On Demand: DRT Service Improvement

Expanding coverage in rural North Lincolnshire.

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  • Fleet size: 6 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
  • Service Hours: 7am - 7pm Weekdays, 8am - 6pm Saturday
  • Cashless payments
  • App & Call Centre bookings
  • FRODO (Fixed-route on-demand optimisation)

North Lincolnshire Council wished to replace their previous dial-a-ride service around Scunthorpe with a technology enabled on-demand 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.

The Problem

Delivering public transport in rural areas can be tricky given low population densities and dispersed community locations make providing network coverage difficult. The existing fixed route in North Lincolnshire was no exception. 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 Demand Responsive Transport zone for North Lincolnshire was extremely large, even for an on-demand service, covering 876 sq. kilometres in a rural low-density setting. Looking at nine recent projects across Europe and North America —on average these DRT services covered less than 85 sq. kilometres per zone, making the North Lincolnshire DRT service zone 10 times larger than typical rural projects. This unique context meant that there were added considerations that needed to be made in designing a successful DRT service in North Lincolnshire. Large DRT service zones can often suffer from the known issue of vehicles grouping together or ‘converging’ on clusters of passenger demand, and this needed to be contended with during the  subsequent service design.

The Solution

Liftango’s solution 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.

To address difficulties associated with large zone sizes and overcome the known issue of vehicles ‘converging’ on clusters of passenger demand, vehicles are routed to strategic break points in between passenger trips. This ensures an even spread of vehicles across the entire service zone, placing them in close proximity to anticipated passenger demand. Further work was completed on the identification and exclusion of known fixed-route transit corridors. This ensured the DRT service did not cannibalise existing Public Transport patronage, but instead complemented the network and connected the sparsely populated and underserved areas of North Lincolnshire. 

This service, JustGo,  launched mid-pandemic in September 2020, and despite challenges that arose in the UK during the COVID-19 outbreak, JustGo was able to safely service passengers. In fact, during this time it provided a critical service to essential workers such as teachers, NHS staff, postal workers, retail staff and other key workers living in rural areas across North Lincolnshire. Post-lockdown the service expanded operations in April 2021 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 explore options for optimisation. The outcome of this collaborative process was a change in zone design to increase service capacity and reduce cost per trip. 

In addition to the technology, Liftango also provided detailed data reporting and analysis services which guided stakeholders in suggesting and implementing improvements to the service to result in more patronage and reduce operational cost metrics. 

The Results

  • 275,000 trip requests to date
  • 6,999 users, 10% in wheelchairs or with other mobility need
  • Riders with mobility needs have a higher rate of usage (42 trips) than normal users (32 trips). Users with mobility needs are also much more likely to be active users, with 50.8% having taken a trip compared to 21.7% of all users on JustGo.
  • 0 fixed-route cannibalised trips due to FRODO integration.
Riders with Mobility Needs Ride More, illustrating the social value of the service


Using Liftango’s technology to optimise public transit coverage, JustGo has grown and continues to provide valuable services to thousands of residents in North Lincolnshire. The trips map above shows that the service is being used to connect residents in rural locations to nearby towns as well as for longer distance journeys across North Lincolnshire.

JustGo is especially useful for riders with mobility needs, who are much more likely to use the service, and use it more frequently, than the general public. A recent survey of JustGo users showed that 21% of survey respondents face mobility challenges which impact their ability to travel, with 40% of all respondents not having access to a private vehicle. These survey results further underline the importance of JustGo for this cohort. 

East Yorkshire Motor Services leveraged Liftango’s experience in marketing and deployment of DRT services, such that the service was oversubscribed in the first week, and repeat bookings were made up to four weeks in advance in order to secure trips. Now, it produces around 350 trips per week.

Liftango has worked extensively in partnership with North Lincolnshire Council to ensure the service design meets their goals. Use of Liftango’s Fixed Route On Demand Optimisation (FRODO) feature has ensured that no fixed route trips are being cannibalised through the addition of DRT. The use of routed to strategic break points in between passenger trips has ensured that deploying DRT at this scale has addressed - not exacerbated - gaps in network coverage.

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