Rural mobility: How to build a DRT offering to maximise commercial sustainability beyond the funding 

Rural Mobility Webinar

Mobility in rural areas: How to set up a DRT offer to ensure economic sustainability beyond the funding – this was the topic discussed by mobility experts in a recent webinar organised by Padam Mobility and presented by Beate Kubitz. Read the most important take-aways here!

While public transport in urban areas is largely well developed, rural regions are usually poorly or not at all connected to a public network.

Demand-Responsive Transport, i.e. transport that adapts to the needs of the individual inhabitants, can remedy this situation. Vehicles only cover the itineraries users request, thus avoiding unnecessary kilometres and CO2 emissions. A good idea in theory, however, not yet implemented in reality.

What are the reasons why DRT services remain rather underdeveloped?

The feasibility and concrete deployment of Demand-Responsive Transport services were discussed by the 5 mobility experts Beate Kubitz, Matthew Clark (Steer), Matt Dacey (VIX Technology), David Shakory (formerly MOIA, now what3works), and David Carnero (Padam Mobility) in a dedicated webinar entitled “Rural mobility: how to build a DRT service to ensure economic sustainability beyond subsidies” that has been organised by Padam Mobility and can be watched here in full-lengths.  

The experts agree, DRT is an important achievement and has great potential to significantly improve the mobility of rural populations and thus their overall quality of life. 

However, in order to make DRT available to all, it is necessary to overcome prejudices and eliminate identified problems. An important aspect in this context is the flexibility of the operator and the software provider. Each territory is different and therefore needs to be analysed individually in order to identify how the DRT service needs to be designed to provide added value for users.

First you have to understand exactly what the real needs of the population are and how these needs can be met“, says Matthew Clark. He adds “It is important to realise that ‘rural’ is not one place“. This aspect recurs throughout the discussion: understanding the needs and adapting a flexible DRT offer accordingly. 

How is it possible to make Demand-Responsive Transport economically viable?

So far, the general view is that public pooling services are not profitable. However, this should not be the main incentive to provide rural DRT to the population. David Carnero says any newly implemented service has to reach a certain point “where it is efficient from an operational point of view“.  He adds, “It’s a platform play, so the platform has to be built, the usage has to be built (…).”  To be able to speak of profitability at all, the service must offer users real added value, be well accepted by them and establish itself in the long term. This process does not happen overnight.

It is also crucial that DRT services are used efficiently, not simply as another mobility product in addition to the existing traffic, but to actually relieve traffic, for example, if users decide to use a DRT service to the nearest transport hub instead of relying on their own car. 

The high user-friendliness offered by DRT services can be a driver to encourage users in general to use more public mobility services. This could be an important step towards Maas (Mobility as a Service) and revolutionise the way we perceive and use mobility – especially in rural areas. 

Watch the full webinar in replay 

What do you think about this topic? Don’t hesitate to contact us!


This article might interest you: Mobility-as-a-Service and DRT: Towards A sustainable Platform

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Is Demand-Responsive Transport too expensive?

Is Demand-Responsive Transport too expensive?

Is Demand-Responsive Transport too expensive? In this series of articles, we suggest to deconstruct misconceptions about Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) and shared mobility. Misconception #2: “DRT is a financial drain”.

Some mobility stakeholders are reluctant to set up a dynamic DRT service, fearing its cost, which is considered exorbitant. Beware of abusive shortcuts!

Get the upstream Demand right

Before launching a DRT service, it is preferable to carry out an upstream study, as each territory has its own mobility logic. Workshops with elected representatives, users, local stakeholders to identify needs, expectations and an “acceptable” level of the offer (adequate pricing, number of dedicated vehicles, number of trips offered, etc.). Then, it is preferable to test the system and its dimensioning through a renewable public contract, collecting as much data as possible on the service organisation and operations.

Take advantage of the versement mobilité (France)

The challenge is to control expenditure by optimising the grouping of itineraries. Local authorities can compensate for part of this by deducting a portion of the versement mobilité des entreprises. Since the new French Mobility Act (LOM), it has become the missing financial instrument for the DRT. It provides the opportunity to improve DRT services by investing in digital tools to facilitate demand and speed up bookings.

The versement mobilité may even cover the entire operating cost. The Pays de Saint-Omer Urban Community, which devotes 490,000 euros per year to its rural DRT operations, is “reimbursed in full by the versement mobilité“, according to Marc Thomas, its transport Vice-President (La Gazette des communes, 2020).

Compare what is comparable

Smart and dynamic DRT often replaces or optimises “classic” DRT services. The importance of DRT configuration in its cost is often underestimated. Badly optimised, badly pooled, badly promoted, it can indeed prove to be out of price. The gains resulting from a better configuration, with the right tools, are enormous. In Orleans, the adoption of Padam Mobility solutions enabled the operating costs of the Résa’Tao service to be reduced by around 30%. 

Thought of as an intermodal service or as a feeder service towards existing lines, dynamic DRT makes it possible to increase the capacity of the DRTs it modernises while extending the offer, often in sparsely populated areas. Since the entire network benefits from it, its cost should be analysed at the overall network level.

Do not forget that the transportation industry remains a highly subsidised one

Like the rest of public transport, DRT is heavily subsidised. The user pays only about one-third of the cost of the transport operations. This on-demand public service is therefore not intended to be profitable. Less dense, more difficult to serve, the areas it covers are the least profitable. It is therefore a real political and social choice that targets isolated populations with no means of transport.


These articles may interest you:

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Padam Mobility offers technological solutions to ensure social distancing in transports

End of stay-at-home order

During the month of May, the population will experience a gradual end of lockdown. Returning to school or to the work, the issue of traveling within safe distances is a challenge.

Transforming bus lines that embark passengers at stops into vehicles that take reservations via mobile app, website or phone, will guarantee social distancing.

This will avoid passengers having to let buses pass because they carry too many passengers. With the right technology, it is also very simple to implement.

It is a matter of accompanying public transport in in the end of lockdown for which it is already urgent to prepare, with ambition and a sense of responsibility. To get out of the health crisis, but also the economic and social crisis we are experiencing.

Grégoire Bonnat, Co-founder and CEO of Padam Mobility

Presented by governments around the world, the end of the saty-at-home order plans set out broad strategic guidelines. Priority subjects: public health, getting people back to work, reopening businesses, schools and transport.

To avoid contagion in metros, buses or trams while allowing citizens to move around, one possible solution may be to transform the usual lines into on-demand transport, easily adaptable and meeting health safety requirements.

Transforming a bus line into a on-demand Transport : a preferred means of mobility to adapt to all demands while ensuring health safety.

On a very simple model, users will be able to reserve a seat on their bus via a mobile application, a website, or a dedicated call centre. The number of seats available in a vehicle at a given time will depend on health constraints. This number could be evolving very easily as the end of the stay-at-home order progresses: technology allows it. Thus, it will be possible to ensure a filling of 20%, then 40%, 60%, and so on until the return to normal. It will even be possible to go back if necessary.

Transportation is guaranteed, there is no more risk of ending up in a full bus, or of having to let it pass without knowing if there will be room in the next one. The transportation offer becomes clear and readable for everyone.

Several customers have already asked us to set up reservation solutions adapted to the specific needs of the period.

From one day to another, we will get instructions related to the opening of this school or that factory. Public transportation must be able to adapt very quickly. On-demand Transport works with an associated software that allows us to foresee and guarantee reservations. It is a tailor-made mobility solution, adaptable in real time and therefore extremely relevant in this context of end of stay-at-home order.

Grégoire Bonnat, Co-founder and CEO of Padam Mobility

End of lockdown and massive influx of passengers: the concern of public transit operators

“Transports are a key factor in economic recovery, but it is particularly difficult to maintain physical distancing and sanitary measures,” introduced the French Prime Minister before detailing future government measures for public transport.

For the entire Paris region, RATP President Catherine Guillouard already explained on France Inter on 24 April that ensuring safe distances would not be feasible, given the hyper-density of the Parisian network: “If we had to apply the rules of social distancing, we would only produce 2 million journeys per day, compared to 8 million with a network supply at 70%. …] We must plead for teleworking and refer to the new mobilities”. Maintained until now at 30%, RATP traffic should increase to 70% from the first day of the end of stay-at-home order. An opinion supported by the UNSA-RATP union, judging that it would be “unmanageable by the company” to police all travellers and committing everyone to take responsibility and to telework as much as possible.

The same concerns and observations were made by other French cities, such as Le Mans and Lyon, which are preparing to reopen 80% of their public transit networks. Last Wednesday (22 April), the SYTRAL president Fouziya Bouzerda presented the measures envisaged during the end of the stay-at-home order to manage the flow of passengers to come: installation of vending machines in metro stations allowing the purchase of kits containing masks and hydroalcoholic gel, installation of automatic disinfecting kiosks and cleaning of trains with virucide.

By offering to reduce and guarantee the number of seats available in the vehicles to respect social distancing, Padam Mobility ensures the continuity of its services in strict compliance with the health measures in force (wearing of masks for drivers, systematic disinfection of vehicles).


Find out more about DRT’s adaptations in times of CoVid 19

Coronavirus : learn how Padam Mobility helps DRT operators to adapt their services



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Padam Mobility meets elected officials and users of La Saire

Réunion publique information La Saire

Public information meeting: on January 30, 2020, Padam Mobility, local elected officials and users of La Saire (Le Cotentin, Normandy) met to take stock of the excellent results of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport service.

Very encouraging feedbacks

The La Saire TAD DRT service has been very successful. It registered new users every day for around 1,000 trips made each month. Its ridership remained in strong increase and its pooling rate was close to 60%, which is very appreciable in a rural area. Finally, users rated the service on average 4.7 / 5.

Mothers and youngsters are the most satisfied

I think I can speak on behalf of all the mothers in the room who no longer need to bring their children to school, you have changed our lives at La Saire!”. A mother present in the audience.

The service is very practical and very easy to use”. A teenage girl present in the audience.

A service planned to restart and expand

The elected representatives of the Urban Community of Le Cotentin announced that they were studying very closely the follow-ups that could be given to the service. The chances that the service will restart and be extended to new areas in 2020 are great, but the decision must be submitted to the next Community Council for approval. Padam Mobility could continue to optimize its solutions and make them even more suited to the rural characteristics of the La Saire territory.

A DRT service like La Saire TAD has the potential to revive local life. We talked to the users and they told us that it made all the difference, especially for young people. The latter sometimes had no mobility alternative. We can also think of the tourists who get to Cherbourg train station and cannot move without a car to visit this wonderful region. We hope that the restart of the service and its extension will stimulate a real local dynamic and continue to address certain use cases and specific mobility needs”. Andreas Dieryck, Product Manager at Padam Mobility, present at the public information meeting.

A time of exchange between local elected representatives, the media, users and Padam Mobility

The public information meeting organized at the Digosville municipal hall brought together around fifty people. It was preceded by a press point with local correspondents (La Presse de la Manche, Ouest France and La Manche Libre). This was followed by a presentation of local elected officials: Noël Lefèvre, Transport and Mobilities Vice-President at Urban Community, mayor of Saint-Jacques-de-Néhou; Arnaud Catherine, delegate councilor for urban transportation of the Urban Community and Deputy Mayor of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Serge Martin, mayor of Digosville; Evelyne Mouchel, mayor of Mesnil-au-Val; Carole Gosswiller, Deputy Mayor of Bretteville and the Mayor of Bretteville, Pierre Philippart. Keolis (transit operator of the Zéphir network) was also present in the person of Romain Dandois, Marketing Manager.

This public information meeting enabled Padam Mobility to once again present its Demand-Responsive Transport solutions and in particular its optimization algorithms based on artificial intelligence and its user interfaces: application, booking website and call center. The meeting allowed to take stock of the level of deployment of Padam Mobility technology in France and abroad but also to answer questions from citizens on the La Saire TAD network, inaugurated in July 2019 for a first six-month experiment .

Find out more about Padam Mobility solutions

Learn more about the users of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport

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Padam Mobility keeps deploying its DRT in the Paris region

Transport à la Demande Ile-de-France
With its Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) solutions, Padam Mobility keeps expanding in Île-de-France and is helping the Paris region to reduce the environmental footprint.

Also known as the “ecological footprint”, the environmental footprint is an indicator that measures the impact of human activities on the environment. Among other greenhouse gas emitting sectors, the transportation one has real ecological repercussions on the atmosphere. In addition to having a harmful impact on nature, pollution from car traffic is also harmful to health. Private cars remains the preferred means of transportation for French people for their short trips, mostly for home-to-work trips. According to a report written in 2018 by the Réseau Action Climat entitled “Transports et Pollutions”, the share of private vehicle use in France is 65% for daily trips (and long journeys), to the detriment of other types of transport mode that are more ecological.

In densely populated areas, road traffic generates very high carbon monoxide emissions. To limit these releases that poison air quality, we must rethink the ways of moving. Committed since its creation to the development of greener and more responsible mobility, Padam Mobility has incorporated the ecological issue into its DNA from its beginnings.

With its dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) solutions based on Artificial Intelligence, Padam Mobility is using its expertise to revolutionize everyday mobility. Since the recent adoption of the French Mobility Law (called LOM) on November 19, 2019, Padam Mobility affirms its commitment to act alongside companies and communities to improve the mobility of employees and users between their home and their place of work.

By precisely adapting its offer to the nature and needs of its customers (transit operators and transport authorities, local authorities, companies, individuals, etc.), Padam Mobility questions historical transport patterns, and, among other things, the use of the private car as a mean of transportation.

Padam Mobility’s green figures

In response to the environmental challenge and the ecological transition, DRT is a response that is as relevant as effective in combating global warming. By designing smart, optimized and inexpensive mobility services, Padam Mobility contributes to:

  • Reducing the use of the private car thanks to alternative mobility solutions when conventional public transportation shows its limits. In this way, Padam Mobility has enabled its users to save around 82,000 km of car trips, equivalent to 16 tonnes of CO2 not emitted.
  • Optimizing existing transportation services with smart and dynamic solutions to avoid empty trips and calculate the best routes. In concrete terms, the average pooling rate of Padam Mobility DRT services is 80%. It can reach 92% on the best optimized services.
  • The development of solutions that encourage Padam Mobility’s users to adopt eco-gestures to think about their mobility and choose their itinerary according to their environmental impact. According to a study by Padam Mobility, indicating the most fuel-efficient itinerary to DRT users would, on average, save 500 kilos of CO2 per vehicle per year.
6 new territories in the Paris region covered by Padam Mobility’s DRT solutions

Already present in the Paris region (at Gally-Mauldre, Meaux, Bois-le-Roi, Centre-Essone, Vexin, Nangis, Perthes en Gatinais, Melun and La Ferté), Padam Mobility solutions will soon be deployed in 6 new territories covered by Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM, the Paris region’s Public Transport Authority). For IDFM, Padam Mobility’s expertise meets the mobility challenges of the Île-de-France region by configuring DRT services adapted to local issues.

Effective from January 6, 2020, this new deployment will concern the following 6 IDFM territories: Nemours, Coulommiers, Gretz-Ozoir-Tournan, Saint Mard, Houdan-Montfort, Rambouillet Ouest.


Find out more about Padam Mobility solutions

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Meet the users of the Demand Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom la-Bretèche

Demand-Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom

We keep focusing on Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche and its Demand-Responsive Transport network “TAD Ile-de-France Mobilités” (ex Flexigo Gally-Mauldre).

Our first ride on dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport from Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche train station takes us to the town hall square on which we meet Samir. Samir is one of the DRT drivers. His service is over and he was kind enough to give us a few minutes.

The service has positive reputation among the local residents as Saint-Nom-la Bretèche with no transportation was a very serious issue. The service also seduces non-residents for very different uses. It allows to mix all types of users and nationality, people are seeing each other more frequently than before.

For Quentin, 27, a young Parisian, passing through St-Nom-la-Bretèche and met a little later, the service is a real vector of social link.

We feel that there is a desire to connect people, to make them move together. The minibus is modern, the driver knows your name and you have to announce yourself when you get on. It gives the impression the driver knows personally the people he picks up.

Quentin uses the service for the first time:

It’s the friends I’m meeting at St-Nom-la-Bretèche who told me about it. They would have picked me up at the train station if the service didn’t exist. At least I don’t disturb and I preserve my autonomy. It is mind-blowing that the service is included in my Navigo pass. Even if I live in Paris, I would have liked to hear more about the service. There are zero ads, it might have motivated me to spend a little time in the outer suburbs, especially on weekends when the weather is good.

On the way back, we approach Christian, 52, working in St-Nom-la-Bretèche for several years and living in Mantes-la-Jolie. He testifies:

Without this service, I would have had to come much earlier to work. I spend almost the same travel time by car but at least I avoid the traffic jams and I save my gas. I can also avoid pollution because my car remains at home.

When we ask him what he thinks about the booking app, he confesses:

I’m not very comfortable with smartphones so I book my rides in advance by phone, usually for the whole week. It’s good they kept a phone number to call.


About TAD IDFM Gally-Mauldre
  • 11 towns served
  • Launched on January 2nd, 2018
  • Co-financed by Ile-de-France Mobilités and the Gally-Mauldre inter municipality
  • More than 250 trips / weekday
  • Operated by Transdev
  • 6000 trips / month
  • + 95% of bookings made via the mobile application
  • 95% of punctuality
  • The DRT service was set up to facilitate intermodality by allowing the inhabitants of the territory to access the train stations of Maule, Plaisir and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche at peak hours without using their personal vehicle. The service also facilitates senior and non-motorized youth travels in the area by offering off-peak hours services during weekdays and Saturdays to cities of the inter municipality and train stations.


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Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport


To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.

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Meet the users of the Demand Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche

Demand-Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom

On the occasion of the 18th edition of the European Mobility Week, focus on the west of Paris in Saint-Nom la-Bretèche and its Demand-Responsive Transport network “TAD Ile-de-France Mobilités” (ex Flexigo Gally-Mauldre).

Once arrived at the Foret de Marly train station, we go to the DRT stop and wait for the minibus that we booked a few hours before via the “TAD IDFM” app. Once aboard, we meet Huynh, 39, who has just moved to St-Nom-la-Bretèche. She heard about the service from her husband who got the information on internet:

Although I don’t use it very regularly, I am truly satisfied. It’s very practical and easy to book.

Huynh uses the service to go home located 30 minutes on foot from the train station.

Before, I moved to the station by car, now I can book a minibus in advance, which are available anytime. I save fuel and I don’t need to park or pay for it. I know I can rely on this service for my daughter’s travels to and from the train station which is located in the middle of the forest. It reassures me to know that a minibus is waiting for her when she comes back from Paris at night.

Akhil, 17, high school student, also living in St-Nom-la-Bretèche, is silently listening to us from an adjacent place. He intervenes:

There is no comparison possible. Before, I hitchhiked sometimes to go to school in the morning or to go back home in the evening. It wasn’t easy and I walked sometimes more than 45 minutes when no one wanted to pick me up. It was really tough and unsafe. This service reassures my parents, especially when it’s dark.

For Akhil who has no problem in handling the application, the time slots available are many but sometimes don’t match the train schedules :

We end up having sometimes 15-20 minutes to wait otherwise we miss the train.

The student adds that efforts in terms of communication and acculturation still have to be done:

Sometimes, people can’t get on the bus because they don’t know that they have to book a ride. It’s frustrating for them and the driver and it could be avoided if everyone knew the rules of the game from the beginning. At the train station, no one can really explain the service operation and the signs – when they exist – are not clear enough in my opinion.

We get off the bus at the “Europe 1” stop to meet Mélanie, 37, on the town hall square. Mélanie is a young mother who lives 5 minutes from there.

I use my car exclusively, I never needed to use the service but I find it convenient. I may use it if I have an issue with my car and need to go urgently to the train station or the surroundings.

At mentioning previously-met Akhil and Huynh’s testimonies, Melanie confesses:

My children will start to move alone soon and it is true that it’s a solution that would reassure me.

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About TAD IDFM Gally-Mauldre
  • 11 towns served
  • Launched on January 2nd, 2018
  • Co-financed by Ile-de-France Mobilités and the Gally-Mauldre municipality
  • More than 250 trips / weekday
  • Operated by Transdev
  • 6000 trips / month
  • + 95% of bookings made via the mobile app
  • 95% of punctuality
  • The DRT service was set up to facilitate intermodality by allowing the inhabitants of the territory to access the train stations of Maule, Plaisir and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche at peak hours without using their personal vehicle. The service also facilitates senior and non-motorized youth travels in the area by offering off-peak hours services during weekdays and Saturdays to cities of the inter municipality and train stations.


Read more (in French)

Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport



To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.

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Meet the users of the Demand-Responsive Transport: La Ferté sous-Jouarre

Demand-Responsive Transport: La Ferté

On the occasion of the 18th edition of the European Mobility Week, we’re heading east: La Ferté sous-Jouarre, to meet the users of the recently inaugurated TAD Ile-de-France Mobilités Demand-Responsive Transport network. Located less than an hour by train from Paris, the La Ferté-sous-Jouarre train station is particularly busy during peak hour. The bus station nearby is a hub for school buses to neighboring municipalities during weekdays.

Mylène, 48, is a driver of one of the Transdev Darche-Gros buses dedicated to the DRT service. She is performing her first service of the day and is waiting for the users.

I had some difficulties with the driver’s tablet at the beginning, but after a few minutes of use, everything becomes very easy. The application we use informs us of the number of passengers that have to pick up, their name and  their destination. Each passenger must give his name to get a seat on board. I find it allows to create a real contact with the passengers. Before they were hardly speaking to us. Now we even tell each other a little bit about our lives. A teenager I drive every day explained to me that thanks to the service, the custody was now better shared between her parents.

Hugo, 15, who has already had his seat on the bus, is waiting with the driver for the the passengers. Hugo lives in Rebais, 20 minutes from La Ferté. His parents heard about the service on the radio and had him download the application. Since then, he uses it every day mornings and evenings.

In general I book in advance for the whole week, since I already know my class time schedules. Before there was no transport between La Ferté and Rebais so I had to make a detour via Meaux. I had to take the Transilien and I easily lost 30-40 minutes.

Mourad, 40, who is listening to us, testifies:

I work in Paris and I live in Rebais. I use the service since its creation. As for me, it means less stress and fatigue compared to the car I used to drive to go to the train station. I had to leave it on the parking lot. In terms of travel time, it’s exactly the same. The booking? I do it on the application, it’s done in not even two minutes, everything goes very fast, it’s great.

Another DRT vehicle arrives. We talk to Nicolas, his driver.

Demand-Responsive Transport: La Ferté

This is a service that was eagerly awaited by locals. Indeed, most of them live in small villages where you can only go by car. We may still be in Paris region and one hour from the city, it’s the countryside here. Once the rush hour is over, there is no one. The service has just been launched and there is still much to do in term of signage and communication but we see new passengers everyday. We started with 1-2 users. Now we are more around 10-12 users. People who were struggling to go home before. Most of them are kids. People say it is a service that threatens conventional bus lines but I would say the opposite. This is a good way to test the attendance of the service and then develop a fixed line if necessary. For now, we still use our big buses but we have new minibuses coming soon. They will be more suitable. Most of the time we stop at bus stops that already existed. It’s easier for the users.
About TAD IDFM  La Ferté (first figures after 10 days of operation)
  • 4 towns served, about 19,000 inhabitants concerned
  • Launched on September 2, 2019
  • Co-financed by Ile-de-France Mobilités and the Coulommiers Pays de Brie inter municipality
  • Operated by Transdev Darche-Gros
  • Up to 20 bookings / weekdays
  • 95% of bookings made via the mobile app
  • 95% of punctuality
  • The service was set up to open up the north-eastern sector of the department by improving intra-agglomeration mobility. The objective is to facilitate the connection between the communes of La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, Rebais and La Ferté-Gaucher and to improve the service of the transport nodes (La Ferté-sous-Jouarre bus and railway stations).


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Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport


To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.

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Meet the users of the Demand-Responsive Transport: Le Cotentin

Demand-Responsive Transport: Le Cotentin

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!

Demand-Responsive Transport: Le Cotentin

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.

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Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport



To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.


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Interview with Arnaud Catherine, Le Cotentin Urban Community

Demand-Responsive Transport: Interview

Interview of Arnaud Catherine, councilor of the Urban Community of Le Cotentin about the implementation of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport.

In which context was born the project of La Saire TAD?

Originally there was only Cherbourg-en-Cotentin which had a public urban transport network: 6 to 8 regular lines, coupled with some Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) services for people with reduced mobility called Itineo Access. It was a Demand-Responsive Transport service in the very classic sense of the word. It did not use tools based on artificial intelligence. Reservations were made in advance by phone and drivers’ shifts was managed by a dedicated staff.

We structured ourselves to put in place a real travel plan for the whole Cotentin territory. We did a lot of analytical work on some projects such as the BRT, which alone might not be up to our new ambition. Finally, we experimented three new mobility solutions:

  • Long-term-lease power-assisted electric bicycle, which was a great success and showed a real desire to move differently.
  • Electric, thematic, touristic and free shuttle that we used to experience gratuity.
  • Smart and dynamic Demand-Responsive transport in rural areas with Padam Mobility.
How Demand-Responsive Transport adapt to your mobility challenges?

The low density of our territories prohibits us from offering traditional bus transportation. It would allow at best a dozen people to move during the day. Inspired by the example of the Orleans Metropolis, the Padam Mobility Demand-Responsive Transport solution seemed to us the most adapted to our territory: an urban area of ​​80,000 inhabitants surrounded by peri-urban or rural territories of about 100,000 inhabitants.

Padam Mobility has been a revelation. You have opened our minds to the fact that we cannot put conventional transit lines everywhere, especially when the territories are not dense and the rolling stock is not suitable.

What are the feedbacks?

Once the service launched at La Saire, the success was almost instantaneous. We faced a colossal expectation of the inhabitants to have a flexible transport service that is adapted to their uses. We soon realized that we were not ambitious enough in the delimitation of the mobility pool benefiting from the service.

Why did you begin with La Saire?

This territory has 3 municipalities that touch Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, and therefore touch the conventional network on which we wanted to interface the Demand-Responsive Transport with. It was a way for us to analyze the relevance of our service design. We wanted to know if the users would come to connect to the conventional network.

What are the future developments?

We intend to make the service 100% accessible to People with Reduced Mobility (PRM) throughout the urban area. Regarding the motorization, an ongoing study will lead us to make choices. To give up gas, it will be necessary to arbitrate between electric and biogas motorization. Today we have experimented on a mobility pool that is far too small. Ultimately, all mobility pools must be covered and connected to the structuring network.

We expect to ramp up gradually. There is a huge expectation from our citizens.

Why did you choose to work with Padam Mobility?

We know that we have an essentially urban, diurnal and schoolchildren-centric public transportation network. Being able to move at night, to go to a show requires to propose a global offer.

Padam Mobility is really the brick that was missing in our global transport offer. We had in mind the structuring lines and services we had connected to them (electric bikes, school buses). For the rest we had nothing. DRT with Padam Mobility makes it possible to complement the existing offer and to propose an integrated and global offer, to eventually cover all the needs of the inhabitants. That’s the point.

Padam Mobility would come to finish to mesh completely our territory which is rather rural by offering a transportation service for all. Whether you live in Taillepied, 26 inhabitants, or in Cherbourg-in-Cotentin, 82,000 inhabitants, with Padam Mobility, everybody could benefit from a mobility offer. It’s revolutionary for a territory like ours.


Arnaud Catherine, delegate councilor for urban transportation of the Cotentin Urban Community and 4th deputy of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in charge of energy and energy transition.

About La Saire TAD, the Cotentin’s Demand-Responsive Transport Service

Launched in July 2019 in partnership with Zephirbus (Keolis group), La Saire TAD DRT service aims to facilitate the access to the heart of the city of Cherbourg from the peripheral municipalities. Its +900 trips per month score an average of 4.9 / 5.

Read more

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