We are heading to Le Cotentin, Normandy and its urban area to meet the (young) users of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport network, inaugurated last summer 2019.
First step at the “College” stop which is located opposite the Denis Diderot high school in Tourlaville, a town located in the urban area of Cherbourg. We meet Antoine, 12, who is patiently waiting to go to class. He confesses:
I don’t use the service because I already live next to the high school and I like to walk or use my scooter to get there. Nevertheless, several people of my class take the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport every time we finish classes. I see them get on board. They mainly use it to go home after school but not every day. Before using it, most of them came by car with their parents.
If I had to use it myself, it would be mostly to go to town. The big advantage I see is that the van can come at times the bus might not be there. It’s more convenient and faster.
Four of Antoine’s comrades arrive precisely at the moment we are talking. When they get off the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport, we question them successively. For Mathis, 12 years old, who lives in Le Becquet, he heard about the service at the beginning of the school year.
Of course I’m not the only one around to use it. I book the van directly from my smartphone every week, several days in advance. It’s been between 1 and 2 months that I use it mainly to go to high school, which avoids me to go by bike or by foot. It takes between 10 and 30 minutes to get there. It’s complicated when it’s cold and rainy. In addition, in winter it’s dark very early and the street is not enlightened where I live.
Mickael, same age, same grade, adds:
It’s a very convenient service because buses come here only every two hours. I use it with a friend who books for me. As we live in the same place, he books on my behalf and I take the van with him.
For Fanny, who uses the service every day to go to high school, it’s her elder sister who books for her via her smartphone.
I like the service because it goes fast.
Paulo, doesn’t have a smartphone (yet) but his mother books his trips every Wednesday and Thursday through the app.
What is great is that you can book at any time. Sometimes we have a teacher who is absent or we have free time slot in our timetable. When the service did not exist, I stayed at school or I took line 8 but it does not come all the time.
Many high school students use the service, we ask Véronique, a driver of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport if she meets other types of public.
It’s true that I carry mostly middle school and high school students. Sometimes I carry 5-6 of them from the same class! There are some adults too, especially during the holidays. After that, since we are in the countryside, there are older people. For them, the service is not optimal because they have to get off at the stops where classic buses come to go to the city center. The minibus itself is not really suitable for the elderly, the door is difficult to close but it seems that it will evolve!
It is a service suitable for children and teens who don’t live in the city center. Here we also have sport complexes that offers a lot of activities in the afternoon. There are children we’re picking up out of class, we bring them home and then, an hour later, we bring them back to their sports activities. For the parents, it is very practical because they don’t have to go back and forth in the middle of the day anymore. We are 3 to run the service 3x24h per week, from Monday to Saturday, except on Sundays and public holidays so we relieve the parents a lot during the week.
About La Saire TAD DRT service
Launched in July 2019 in partnership with Zephirbus (Keolis group), La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport service aims to ease the access to the heart of the city of Cherbourg from the peripheral municipalities, especially those located on the eastern part of the territory. Its +900 trips per month score an average of 4.9 / 5.
To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.