White spots on public transport
The stops on demand started the transport on demand. Metropolises are slowly becoming convinced of this trend. Each city organizes it differently. Will on-demand transport become commonplace soon?
On demand, or how?
A stop on demand, or otherwise a conditional stop is an optional stop for public transport (buses, streetcars, trolley buses, trains). A stop is made after the passenger signals the need to use the journey. The carrier or transport organizer determines how the passenger is to report the stop. The methods vary depending on the operator’s arrangements. The willingness to travel can be signaled by raising your hand, waving, waiting in a visible place, pressing a button or simply reporting it to the staff.
Train on demand
On the railroad, there have been stops on demand. This is a possibility for passengers of the Lower Silesian Railways. The carrier in cooperation with the infrastructure manager prepared the option of on-demand stops as part of the pilot. Traveller who wants to use the train has to stand in a place visible for the driver, and if he wants to get off he has to report it to the train crew. Introducing stops on demand on the railroad network gives the possibility of maintaining greater accessibility of transport for inhabitants of small towns. This is how white spots in transport are limited. These practices have been successfully implemented by rail carriers.
It started with single stops
On-demand stops are used by road operators. Almost everyone uses this option, in various forms. In public transport, all stops are operated within the on-demand stops. Many operators use on-demand stops in suburban transport, on the outskirts of towns and villages. Local carriers also use such solutions.
Transportation on request at night
On-demand stops are an opportunity to increase transport accessibility and improve travel times. In case of delays, not stopping at a stop on demand reduces the delay at further stops. Not stopping at each stop also reduces fuel consumption. There are places where stops only work at certain times. Transportation at the work place is only needed at certain hours. Near the forest or allotment gardens, transport is only needed in the season. A stop on demand in such places will increase the availability of public transport and at the same time improve the offer of carriers. This translates directly into an attractive offer for travelers.
On-demand stops are a form of savings for operators. It is also an opportunity for residents of less populated areas and places where the use of stops makes sense only periodically. Most operators in Poland have decided on such forms of stops, but we can also meet them abroad.
Nowadays, there are new opportunities for passengers in transport, also in the form of on-demand trips from A to B or C. We can safely say that on-demand stops were the beginning of what can now be called “transport on demand”.
Bus on call
The service of a telephone bus consists in reporting the demand for a ride to the dispatcher of the operator providing the service of a telephone bus. If we do not report the demand, the bus will not arrive. If the bus will go because someone else reported it, it will take the undeclared travellers for the ride only in case of free seats. The notification should be made sufficiently in advance so that the carrier can coordinate the route of the journey for all passengers. The system works similarly in every city. It consists in determining the route of the buses or the area through which it can go on the basis of designated stops. There are no fixed timetables. The bus runs continuously on a daily basis, without the town.
Thanks to the on-demand bus service, the offer of the carrier becomes more flexible. However, the traveler is not deprived of the possibility to use public transport services. For the carrier such a service strongly reduces the cost of fuel consumption and time of the bus ride. The vehicle is sent on the route only when there is actual demand. The passenger gains permanent access to transport. He can get to the city center or to a place where he can change to standard transport.
Tele-buses are an opportunity to reduce white spots in places or places where transport is needed; however, not always and not necessarily at the strict times imposed by the organizer’s timetable. Such an offer is a golden mean between the needs of travelers and the capabilities of the transport organizer and carriers. Additionally, it maintains the profitability of connections.
From the connection of conditional pick-up points and the bus on demand, a new form of public transport was created. It is similar to a cab, but is intended for many different people. A private company purchased eight-person buses, created an application that allows you to order buses and started operating in the city.
How does it work?
In the application we indicate the place from which we want to leave and the place we want to get to. The application shows where we will be taken from and where to be taken to. Approximate travel times and the final latest time of arrival at the destination are given. With time, based on the suggestions of passengers in the city, the served areas were extended.
The minibus driving along the route gathers additional travellers, who indicated a similar direction in the application. Minibuses have permanently assigned tablets with the application that connects travelers. Thanks to this solution, on-demand bus stop options have been combined with on-demand buses, but with another form – a telephone application.
Benefits of on-demand transport
Starting transport on demand to places where regular transport does not reach is a chance for savings. At the same time, it does not cut people off from the world through lack of connections to the world. The development of such connections is particularly necessary in rural areas. In villages, transportation to the city is sporadic, but necessary. In Poland, transport on demand is still being created. However, we can say with conviction that this is an opportunity for places which are not reached by public transport on a daily basis. The launch of such a form of transport will also enable the return of connections to places where the buses have not been seen for many years.