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WEST MIDLANDS, ENGLAND - Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has partnered with Liftango to digitalise the existing dial-a-ride service, Ring & Ride.
Operated by National Express Accessible Transport (NEAT), the partnership is transforming Ring & Ride into a modern-day digital demand-responsive transport (DRT) solution that improves access to transportation throughout the region.
The project is the largest full-scale DRT operation in the United Kingdom, with the potential to significantly expand the existing fleet of vehicles. Additionally, passenger trips will eclipse the current demand of 10,000 and are projected to reach over 20,000 per month.
The Ring & Ride service was created to provide easily accessible, low-cost transport to community members who require additional support over and above conventional transportation modes.
The need arose for a DRT platform capable of extending the advance booking window whilst catering for more on-demand requests and same-day bookings—a challenge most transport technology providers continue to battle.
TfWM overcame this challenge by implementing Liftango’s modern-day DRT technology, providing a vital lifeline for the community's vulnerable populations that rely solely on this form of flexible transportation.
Liftango will initially provide short-term advance bookings as well as its routing and scheduling expertise packaged in a DRT operations platform, followed by the launch of a passenger app specifically tailored towards community transport and dial-a-ride passengers’ needs.
The rollout of Liftango DRT technology will reduce the burden of manual scheduling and routing for operations staff whilst providing better utilisation of vehicles across the service zone.
Steve Hayes, Head of Network Transformation at TfWM says, "We are delighted to be working with Liftango on our Ring & Ride transformation project as part of our ongoing commitment to providing safe, reliable, affordable and accessible transportation services in our region. We’re confident that digitalising our service will benefit thousands of local trips and ultimately make it easier and more sustainable for our citizens to travel."
There is a lot of scope for improving dial-a-ride services across the United Kingdom. Ring & Ride is an excellent example of how digital DRT technology is improving lives on a mass scale. Through the support of Transport for West Midlands and National Express, Liftango is proud to be part of the largest DRT service running in the UK. and sees it as a milestone for implementing large-scale sustainable and equitable transportation.
Duane Henderson, National Express Accessible Transport Midlands Regional Head of Operations says: “Liftango has provided a platform that assists in efficiently planning and scheduling services across seven areas in the West Midlands. The system is already providing evidence that it has the potential to help nurture passenger growth and assist the customer and operator experience develop.”
Liftango are contracted to carry out this project over a three year period and are implementing over multiple phases:
- Phase One - Initial Launch, which began on 27th June 2022.
- Phase Two - Three Birmingham zones which began on 31st October 2022
- Phase Three - Four Black Country zones started on the 5th December, 2022
- Phase Four - Rollout of passenger scheduling application across the network in mid 2023
Through the collaboration between the transport authority, fleet operator and technology provider, transportation in the West Midlands is transforming into a sustainable and future-proof solution creating greater access for all community members.
Liftango offers a route to a sustainable and climate-positive future by advising cities, organisations, and fleet operators on how to plan, launch and scale their shared mobility programs. Through a single technological platform, we improve organisations' ability to monitor and optimise vehicle movements in a more environmentally friendly manner.
Learn more: liftango.com
Transport for West Midlands is the public authority that coordinates transportation services in England's West Midlands metropolitan county. They work with bus and train operators to provide safe, reliable, affordable and accessible public transport services to every member of the region.
Learn more: tfwm.org.uk
About National Express Accessible Transport
At National Express Accessible Transport we are proud to deliver a trusted, flexible and innovative transport service across the UK.
We passionately believe that accessible transport solutions are critical to supporting economic growth, driving social inclusion and building a better society within our communities.
Our mission is to: “Transform how customers feel about life by re-imaging accessible transport to make it enjoyable, easy and effortless to use; giving customers the experience they deserve, not the one they settle for.”
Learn more: ne-accessibletransport.com/