The success of a Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service rely on several pillars. In this article, we will dive deeper regarding the user experience after a brief reminder of what a dynamic Demand Responsive Transport is.
What are the contexts in which dynamic Demand Responsive Transport is being implemented?
Dynamic DRT complements the traditional public transports when the latter cannot meet the demand, such as paratransit, or in low density areas, or during off-peak hours (night transport for example) or the transport of employees. In addition, DRT can enhance transport in more or less densely populated areas with its first and last mile logic, by reducing the number of stops on existing networks. In this case, it supports public transport services without competing with existing fixed lines.
The user experience: a key condition for the success of Demand Responsive Transport
Target your users
“Who will use your DRT?” That’s the key question. User profiles are various and each has its own specificities. The success of a DRT network will depend on your target and its needs. For example, for a senior population, it would be wiser to provide a call centre to make reservations rather than a mobile application only, which is less suited to the use of elderly people.
User experience: take care of passenger informations
The second key point to consider is passenger information to ensure an optimal user experience.
Unlike conventional transportation, if there is no real-time passenger information, a dynamic DRT service cannot work. Punctuality and the ability to provide accurate departure and arrival times are important for users. Many channels are available to share passenger informations: SMS, emails or push notifications on smartphones.
In addition, since the rise of ridesharing apps, users can now rate their journeys. This allows operators to get a real-time indication about the quality of their DRT service and to quickly consider improvements.
If you offer a mobile app, it is important to think about the interface in terms of quality rather than quantity. An application with few but useful features is better than an app whose multitude of features will only confuse users.
User experience: Which payment methods?
The implementation of fast payment methods improves the user experience. For many transport operators, on-demand transport is integrated into the existing network. It is therefore relevant to propose a ticketing solution similar to the one used on the rest of the network.
A prepayment solution makes it possible to improve user loyalty. It allows an amount to be credited into the user’s account, which will be debited each time the service is used. Pre-payment solutions usually go along with promotional campaigns to stimulate the use of the service (e.g. pay for 10 journeys, be credited with 11).
Other payment methods exist but remain marginal due to the complexity of their logistics. This is the case of post-payment, which involves setting up a collection service, or instant payment, which is still very expensive since transaction costs are expensive compared to the small amounts paid.