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Is it possible to control the budget of a Demand Responsive Transport?

budget Demand Responsive Transport

Is it possible to control the budget of a Demand Responsive Transport? In this series of articles, we suggest to deconstruct misconceptions about Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) and shared mobility. Misconception #1: “If too many people use my DRT, I won’t be able to control the budget”.

Some mobility stakeholders are setting up dynamic DRTs in the hope – unconsciously or not – that they will be used sparingly. They imagine the ridership incentive make the DRT too expensive to use. This encourages behaviours that are sometimes schizophrenic: the service must attract the public to demonstrate its added value (ride pooling). But not too much, because too attractive, it would be too expensive. Beware of abusive shortcuts!

Determining an “acceptable” offer

By determining an acceptable level of supply for the Public Transit Authority (PTA), we can get out of this schizophrenia. When contracting or designing the service, it is in the interest of the PTA to ask itself how much it is willing to pay for its DRT service. To do so, it is necessary to determine the maximum acceptable offer in terms of number of vehicles assigned to the service, number of rides per day or the cost of the service.

Once the means have been capped, an increase in ridership necessarily improves the performance of the service. The PTA has only one incentive left: to provide the best possible service at constant means.

Define the best service in this context

Once these means have been determined, the PTA will keep full control on its budget. It will have determined the maximum load it will be able to carry. It will then be up to it to set up the best possible offer (in terms of used algorithms, service design (a zonal configuration will be preferred to a fixed-line configuration), etc.).

In complete financial security, the PTA will take care of removing all obstacles to the adoption of DRT: short booking deadlines, simple and quick sign up and effective communication will make the service attractive and reliable. A success adapted to the means.

 

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