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Transit Operators

Survey: What your paratransit users really need

DRT and Paratransit: Woman in a wheelchair is waiting.

75% of paratransit users are unsatisfied with the current state of paratransit services, a survey by Padam Mobility has revealed. Find out what People with Reduced Mobility really expect from a barrier-free mobility and how to achieve it.

Over 14 million People with Reduced Mobility live in the UK. 12 million in France, and 8 million with severe disabilities in Germany. More than 90 % are using public transport. Public authorities and transit operators need to adjust their services to make it fair and easy to use for everyone.

“Paratransit services are a rigid and restrictive system which prohibits any spontaneity”

Why users are unsatisfied with paratransit services

We polled people with mobility impairments. While the majority is using transportation at least twice a week, more than 60% depend on the schedule of the public service to plan their daily life. And independence comes at a high cost – with an expensive adapted car, or a taxi.

Very often, paratransit services will also require planification 24h in advance.

Public schedules make it hard to avoid long waiting times, too early pick-ups or late drop-offs. Since more than 70% need to travel to different destinations or at different times every day, the transportation offer needs to be more flexible.

Here is a dropdown of the most used means of transportation in the population we surveyed

paratransit

Paratransit services are the main solution, but have a lot of room for improvement.

“Paratransit takes me too long to wait. I have to be ready 30 minutes before the booking and wait another 30 minutes before the vehicle arrives”

This is why 75% of paratransit users are unsatisfied with the current state of paratransit services.

The second major need to consider is accessibility. On top of accessible bus stops and vehicles, booking a ride can also be a challenge for People with Reduced Mobility. Most of the services are not digitised and thus cannot take into account additional dwelling times for wheelchair users when booking a ride. A digital booking solution will take this into account, and to make the service more efficient and user-friendly.

Last but not least, security and comfort is a third need that users with reduced mobility wish to see addressed. Traveling together with caregivers or companions, and having a dedicated seat for them can be essential.

Here are the 6 main issues paratransit users have finally shared with us

  • Lack of spontaneity
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Loss of time (vehicle delay / trip with many detours)
  • Poor accessibility
  • Stress related to delay and space in the vehicle
  • Dependence on a third party

Dynamic DRT for paratransit users

Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) offers an opportunity to create barrier-free public transport: it focuses on its users rather than the schedule. Since over 70% People with Reduced Mobility live in suburban areas, DRT allows a door-to-door service with barrier-free vehicles. With the booking options such as selecting a number of wheelchair seats and enabling booking by third parties, transit operators can increase the quality of their paratransit service without causing tremendous operating costs.

Example of dynamic DRT features that address issues for People with Reduced Mobility:

Real-time booking Allows more spontaneity, rides can be booked less than 30 min in advance
Dynamic schedules based on the demand Allows more flexibility
Real-time notifications on the vehicle approach Avoids long waiting times at pick-up stops
Booking by a third-party Allow caregivers or companions to take care of the paratransit users’ mobility when their situation does not allow them to book a ride directly
Door-to-door service Improves accessibility drastically
Specific dwelling time per user or user type Improves the reliability of the service by taking into account the amount of time necessary to pick-up and drop-off a user, depending on his specificity
Additional information on users Allows the service to fit the users’ specific needs thanks to useful information shared with operators and drivers
Additional information on equipments Ensures the vehicles are adapted to onboard any specific equipment (wheelchairs, etc.)

In cooperation with transport operators, Padam Mobility provides a response to the mobility and digitalisation challenges of paratransit services and stakeholders. Smart shared mobility services allow users to book their rides in real-time, as well as vehicles that have space for a wheelchair or baby carriage. Therefore, the transport service becomes more accessible and flexible for everyone.

Padam Mobility powers the software behind paratransit services in Brittany (BreizhGo), in Pays-de-la-Loire (Aléop), in Le Pays de Saint-Omer (Mouvéo), Limoges (RRTHV), Chalons-en-Champagne (Sitac), in Pays-du-Mont-Blanc (Montenbus) and in the Landes department (Oé à la demande).

On these services, the most important and popular features are the door to door service, the additional information on users and the ability to adapt dwelling times for pick-up and drop-off depending on the user’s specificities.

TPMR          TPMR 1

Are you operating a paratransit service? What are the major pain points or users are addressing? Comment this article and share our thoughts and opinions with us!

These articles may be of interest to you:

Is Demand-Responsive Transport relevant in urban areas?

Find out more about Padam Mobility’s Paratransit offer here.

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How Padam Mobility is revolutionising the way people move in all territories

territories

In peri-urban and rural areas, travel opportunities are often very limited. Demand is too low or too scattered, territories are too large or too convoluted, needs and use cases are too different: proposing a unified mobility offer while responding to the multiple specificities of one or more territories is complicated. To overcome this difficulty, Padam Mobility allows to flexibly manage, within the same platform, different Demand-Responsive mobility services operated by one or more transit operators in one or more territories.

Bypassing obstacles to the development of shared mobility in peri-urban and rural areas

If the so-called “alternative” mobility offers, which aim to encourage modal shift and to break away from the still very dominant private car model, try to find their place in the peripheries […], the low density of the urban fabric makes the task logically more difficult than in the urban centres – where the threshold effect necessary for the operation of some modes (car sharing, car pooling) is obviously easier to achieve […]. While there are many signs of the emergence of alternative forms of mobility in peri-urban areas, this does not yet seem to be sufficient to switch to non-automobile lifestyles.

Marc Dumont, professor of urban planning at the University of Lille in “Alternative mobilities remain a complementary mobility, not a substitution mobility”.

Aware of these obstacles to the development of shared mobility, Padam Mobility teams have developed their Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) solutions around a “multi-territories” architecture. Unique on the market, it allows the flexible management of different DRT services that do not share or only partially share certain characteristics within the same platform.

Managing several territories, shared mobility services or transit operators under a unified brand name

Multi-territories” particularly responds to the constraints of Public Transport Authorities operating in several zones or in a multi-operated territory by making it possible to adapt the parameters of the services  their challenges.

Thus, in front of the multitude of use cases in the Paris region, explained in part by its 12,000 km2 surface area, “multi-territories” has emerged as a relevant response for coordinating the DRT supply on a regional scale. A unique platform has been designed for Île-de-France Mobilités (Paris region Public Transport Authority). It is gradually being expanded to include DRT services specific to one or more areas. In 2022, thanks to the “multi-territories”, the regional platform will be able to manage nearly 60,000 bookings per month (compared to 12,000 at present), spread over 40 territories (compared to 23 at present) and operated by more than 8 different transit operators.

Multi-Multi-territories architecture: several territories, several services, a single solution
Multi-territories architecture: several territories, several services, a single solution
Multi-territories architecture: users can select their territory in a single click in their mobile app
Multi-territories architecture: users can select their territory in a single click in their mobile app

Among its assets, the “multi-territories” architecture offers :

  • A single brand name and a single interface for all users, guaranteeing a unified and consistent user experience. By deploying a single application, under a single brand, across several territories, the transport authority simplifies its communication and reduces its user acquisition costs.
  • Single points of contact
  • The guarantee of true independence from local transit operators
  • Total control of the data collected for better transparency and neutrality
  • Optimised control of operating and service extension costs
Multi-territories architecture: several territories, a single service, a single solution
Multi-territories architecture: several territories, a single service, a single solution

The “multi-territories” allows all types of configurations. This is possible at any time of the day or year.

It is totally conceivable that on one or more territories, a Demand-Responsive service is offered to the active population by proposing a minibus service that feeds transport nodes or activity areas during rush hour. During the day, off-peak times, the service can be mutualised with a paratransit offer and improves travel for junior and senior citizens. In the evenings and at night, fleets of vehicles with a lower capacity replace those of minibuses and strengthen the night-time mobility offer, targeting students in particular.

During the school and summer holidays, the service is readjusted to serve leisure facilities or to reinforce the service to local tourist sites. In a context of health crisis, the service facilitates the travels of health workers to and from hospitals on specific time slots or itineraries to avoid any risk of contagion.

Anything becomes possible.

Multi-territories architecture: a single territory, several services, a single solution
Multi-territories architecture: a single territory, several services, a single solution
Deploy new services or territories gradually and easily

While the configuration and management of multiple services on a single platform is one of the main advantages of the “multi-territories”, the ability to configure and deploy new services or territories gradually with ease and without redeployment is undoubtedly its main strength. Thus, a Public Transport Authority may very well decide to create an offer in a first area and then extend it to other territories without its users having to update their application to benefit from these new services. The user benefits at all times from a single access point to several service offers.

Another advantage is that it is particularly easy to parameterise one territory differently from another (e.g. booking deadlines or booking modification deadlines, re-routing rates, type of vehicles, service hours, etc.). Extensions of existing services or newly created services make it possible to easily adapt to changes in territories and to respond almost immediately to the needs of the users.

 

Find out more about Padam Mobility

This article might interest you: Making your municipal project a reality with Demand-Responsive Transport

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[Forum] Why do so many people hate the bus?

responsible mobility

The bus does not have the place it deserves. Several actors share the responsibility for its execrable image. By administering the right remedies, it will become central to the future of responsible mobility.  Why do so many people hate the bus? Is it possible to prefer a bus journey to a Tesla journey?

Two modes of transport have a legitimate image of virtue: train and bicycle. They are non-polluting or low-polluting, take up little space, are suitable for a multitude of journeys and are sustainable. The question of their widespread use no longer arises. But between train and bicycle, too many journeys remain almost impossible without a private car.

Certain populations (children, the elderly, PRMs), certain conditions (weather, objects to be transported) make the situation worse. It is in these areas that the bus, whether fixed or on demand, is intended to take the place of the private car. Because the experience of transport is heterogeneous. Depending on whether you live at the centre of the metro network, close to scooters and passenger cars with driver services or in a sparsely populated area where the mobility offer is limited to a pair of trainers or a bus that passes every half hour.  Living without a car outside a city centre can nowadays only be suffered and never chosen.

Well optimised, the bus is ecologically and economically more efficient. The impact of smart bus lines is decisive for the community. In order to fully take its place, the bus must reinvent its image, like other modes of transport before it.

“Whoever is seen on a bus after the age of 30 has failed in life”

This quote, attributed to Margaret Thatcher, is apocryphal. It is the work of Brian Christian de Claiborne Howard, an English essayist of the first half of the twentieth century. It sums up in a few words the deplorable image of the bus in our societies.

The bus has the image of a transport mean for second-class citizens. Poor people. The bus is old, it is unreliable, and let’s face it, it often stinks. If we made a profile of the bus user, it would look like the profile of the abstainer. Far from responsible mobility.

After decades of explaining its misdeeds, the private car still has a more positive image than the bus. According to Eurostat, the modal share of buses in the EU fell by 9.6% between 2005 and 2017. While that of the car remained unchanged (+0.3%) and that of the train increased by 11.5%.

The image of transportation modes is changing

Other modes of transport have been able to reinvent their image. This is the case of the long-distance train: from an uncomfortable, slow and unattractive mode of transport, it has become modern, state-of-the-art, offering a premium experience to as many people as possible at an affordable price from city centres. The train has become more desirable than the airplane.

Even more recently, the taxi has reinvented itself forced march. By taking advantage of platforming, passenger cars with driver have metamorphosed the user experience. The lack of friendliness (often fantasised) of drivers, the difficulty of finding one, the uncertainties at the time of payment have disappeared and the taxi has become premium while becoming more democratic.

“The bus must become the iPhone of transportation modes”

The examples are countless. Even the scooter has become cool. On the other side of the spectrum, the airplane or motorised two-wheelers, ancient symbols of glamour, have seen their image degraded. Because of a pitiful user experience (1), or a shift in mentality.

What if everything had to be redone?

Repairing the bus system costs much less than repairing the train. The bus is a very small market in the eyes of an economist, but very important for society. It only can afford to propose the ordeal of the night bus service whereas it is in competition with Uber and with Tesla, who know how to give desire (2).  Taking the example of successful modes of transport, the bus must become the iPhone of transport, just as the French TGV (high-speed train) symbolised technological excellence.

Bus de ville

When it comes to image, it has to start with the visual. Stop turning every bus user into a sandwich man. No one wants to get into a vehicle between two cheese and telephone ads.

Vehicle markings should also do less to promote the transport authority, the town hall or the control centre, whose logos and colours invade the walls of the vehicles. Private shared mobility services, such as company or airport shuttles, display vehicles that look like high-end saloon cars. Renowned designers are responsible for the design of the train seats. Why not bus seats? Some conurbations are making efforts to improve the image projected by their means of transport, but there are too few of them.

Instead of advertising on buses, why not advertise for buses? Public services are not condemned to infantile and outdated communication: in France, the Army has been able to offer modern and striking communication.

“Saving time and improving commercial speeds”

Finally, the user experience is key to transforming the bus experience into responsible mobility. Not by adding two gadgets and USB sockets.  It has become impossible to offer public transport that does not warn of the specific time of arrival. Who can’t guarantee a seat, carry a piece of luggage, or accommodate no more than 3 pushchairs at the same time. A transport that provides so little and adapts so badly to conditions, passengers and surprises. Even the NYC subway, once perceived as an unhealthy cut-throat, has regained a positive image thanks to a team of motivated engineers (3).

Its reliance on traffic also gives the bus the image of a slow mode of transport. This idea must also be addressed. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a more radical and, above all, more efficient solution than reserved lanes. Eliminating on-board ticket sales also saves time and improves commercial speeds.

Shared transport is taking its place. Between 2002 and 2017, in France, public transport increased by 24%, compared to 4% for the private car. Among public transport, the railways have taken the lion’s share, with an increase of more than 28%, compared to 19% for buses and 12% for air transport. In order to go further, further improvements are still needed.

The burden of these improvements falls on a multitude of actors: manufacturers, transport authorities and local authorities. To replace the private car or taxi, the bus must be given priority, everywhere, in order to save time that it will devote to better take care of users.

This is the only way to make the bus attractive and to ensure that its promises of ecological, social and economic impact are kept for the greatest number of people.  Adapted to all types of territories, it deserves it.

Thibault Lécuyer-Weber – Chief Marketing Officer, Padam Mobility

 

  1. The airplane suffers from the distance of the airports and the heavy security protocols imposed. 
  2. https://www.01net.com/actualites/le-tesla-roadster-serait-equipe-de-propulseurs-de-fusee-issus-de-spacex-1920329.html
  3. https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/17/engineering-against-all-odds/

 

Find out more about Padam Mobility solutions

This article might interest you: The shadow of the private car is back

 

 

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Our trainee tested the Plus de Pep’s DRT: here’s what she thinks about it

DRT plus

Our trainee tested the Plus de Pep’s DRT service in Paris region: here’s what she thinks about it! Eva, 19 years old, marketing trainee at Padam Mobility for 5 months, tells her first experience with Demand-Responsive Transport.

“I’ve been living in Paris for 2 months now, and it’s really a change from Rennes or the town where my parents live, in Brittany. Here, I take the metro every day and recently I was able to test the Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) for the first time on the Plus de Pep’s service in Chessy-Marne-la-Vallée.”

“Before I was doing my internship at Padam Mobility, I had no idea about Demand-Responsive Transport. The first time I heard about it, I immediately thought of a vehicle for hire service. I quickly understood it was (most often) a public minibus service that had to be booked on an application to get around.”

“To book my trip, I used the Plus de Pep’s app on iOS. I found it simple and fluid to use, it only took me a few minutes to book my trip from Chessy to the Lagny Thorigny train station. I received a validation message to confirm my booking and that was it! 10 minutes before the proposed pick-up time, I went to the location indicated on the map in the app. At first, I had a hard time finding the right location, so I waited for the bus to show up on the map and went to meet it when it arrived. The driver gave me a warm welcome. He was on time. He was very kind by indicating his presence to a few latecomers who couldn’t find his location either. I have been struck (in a good way) by the human contact during pick up”.

“I felt privileged, compared to the classic bus or the metro. I felt like I had access to a service that was there just for me.”

“When I got in the minibus, I noticed the sanitary rules against Covid19 were respected: hydroalcoholic gel was provided, prevention posters, plexiglas separating the driver from the users. Every second seat was condemned in order to guarantee social distancing. The trip lasted about thirty minutes. We passed through several small villages and hamlets, I was very surprised because we were only one hour from Paris. Once we arrived at the Lagny-Thorigny train station, the driver opened the door to the other passengers and myself, wishing to see us again on his service. Class!”

“Thanks to the DRT, I was able to cross small towns and cities that don’t necessarily have direct or easy access to Paris. I thought it was an ideal solution for quick and inexpensive excursions in the Paris countryside. For me, the big advantage is that the service is included in my traveler card!”

“In conclusion, I found the service pleasant and secure, the interaction with the driver was a real plus and my minibus was punctual. I didn’t have any imperative, but it reassured me the service was reliable, especially since I had to take a train ride.”

“In the 900-inhabitant- town where I grew up in Brittany, daily travels are impossible without using a car: no buses, shuttles, DRTs or even taxis are offered. Without a driving licence, it was very frustrating for me not to be able to go to bigger cities like Saint-Malo, Dinan, Dinard or Rennes, even though they were close by. A DRT service would have been very useful for me and my parents who had to take taxis veeeeery often.”

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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:

Find out more about Padam Mobility solutions

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[Forum] Why should public transport become stronger (than ever) despite social distancing?

Transports publics should become stronger despite social distancing

Covid-19 has disrupted the mobility sector more than any startup ever has. I am offering a brief and personal analysis of what happened, choices that lay ahead of us and why public transport should become stronger despite social distancing. At a time where we are slowly digesting health guidelines, we have historical decisions to make to ensure that the future of mobility, our future, is sustainable.

The initial blow

The entire mobility sector has taken a serious blow in the past two months. Under lockdown, people’s movements have decreased by 50% to 80% (depending on countries’ guidelines), our usually congested cities were emptied of cars and pedestrians alike. Both well established companies and unicorns yesterday considered as the future of mobility – especially Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) – were brought to their knees. Uber’s e-scooter sharing business Jump was quickly merged with the Lime, for a fraction of their pre-coronavirus valuation, incidentally sending tens of thousands of e-bikes to ‘recycling’. 100-year old car rental company Hertz filed for bankruptcy (Chapter 11) in the US, and the European leader of car-sharing Drivy, just months after being acquired by US-based Getaround, turned to the Paris Commercial Court to obtain its support, as a “preventive measure”. Car-sharing, scooter-sharing were supposed to lead the way to a world free of private cars to reduce our carbon footprint.

Some services were actually helpful to cope with the virus situation”.

Public transit too was strongly affected but so far managed to resist the first wave. Thanks to balanced public-private business models, relying on long-term contracts, public transit stakeholders are more resilient than other businesses. Even under the sternest lockdown measures, PT services were still considered as essential. There is to my knowledge no major public transit operator which declared bankrupt, nor have public authorities stated that public transit would be significantly downsized in the future. Some services, such as Demand-Responsive Transit, were actually helpful to cope with the virus situation: the “Night Bus” service in Padua, Italy (powered by Padam Mobility) was turned into a day service and increased ridership. Berlkönig in Berlin, also focused on night mobility, was extended for the benefit of health workers.

Post-lockdown prolonged effects on modal shares

Having labelled all these events as “Impacts of the Covid-19 crisis”, it is tempting to think that things will just go back to normal. In many ways, the crisis may have just accelerated trends which were already there. However, I think we should not underestimate how the coronavirus has single-handedly disrupted our vision of mobility, and maybe not for the better.

While European cities are witnessing the same behaviour, authorities also get that coronavirus may wipe out a decade of efforts to detox their citizens from private cars”.

During the first weeks of lifting social distancing measures, we have contemplated that a major shift was happening in modal share of mobility. Public transit is the place where you meet a lot of strangers. A full quarter of media and public obsession about health precautions (which, to a certain extent, was unavoidable) has convinced us that ‘stranger’ rhymes with ‘danger’. Bloomberg quotes Jason Rogers (Nashville, US): “I have no interest in getting on the bus or a ridesharing system unless I’m in a hazmat suit”. The result speaks for itself: in China – first to lift lockdown measures, the ridership of public transit is 35% below normal and congestion is already above 2019 average. The US are reporting a similar trend already.

While European cities are witnessing the same behaviour, authorities also get that coronavirus may wipe out a decade of efforts to detox their citizens from private cars. They had just a bit more time than China to anticipate and devised a few strategies. Betting on bikes is one of them: French Government claims 1,000 km of temporary bicycle lanes have been created and is working to permanently maintain them. The UK are investing up to £2B on “once-in-a-generation” plan to boost walking and cycling. Another interesting move is Athens banning cars from a large part of its city center for 3 months (and maybe more).

Will this be sufficient? These investments are much welcome, but the modal share of cycling has remained flat under 2% in the UK in the past decade and is estimated at about 3% in France. A 10% long-term reduction of ridership in public transit would be sufficient to level the impact of more people cycling. We can still fear a major shift from public transit to cars. In France, which hosts 3 of the handful of worldwide public transport operators (Transdev, Keolis, RATP), representatives of the sector have fought hard – but not very successfully – to avoid strict social distancing measures onboard metros and buses and to rely on masks as the main sanitary measure.

In the end, Transport for London (TfL) did not solve the dilemma of prioritizing congestion or health issues, they raised both the congestion tax on cars and the fares of public transit. At least TfL will not go bankrupt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Rystadenery

Psychological impact

Even now that the French Ministry is considering softening these measures, it is impossible to predict the magnitude of the psychological impact on how people choose their mode of transport. There are precedents: terrorist attacks in Madrid (2004) and London (2005), which targeted public transit, or Paris (2015) which targeted the “night life”. In each case, public transportation actually recovered in a matter of months. The issue is not the same, though: with the virus, it is more public transit itself and its riders which are the objects of people’s fear. We have also been exposed to the social distancing message for much longer and it may last until we have a vaccine.

Sure, people have talked a lot about the crisis as an opportunity to shift to a new trajectory for our civilization, towards decarbonation and resilience. But I hear the same people say: “No way I’m using the train at the moment, I’ll just drive.” As I don’t know much about sociology, I’ll quote an expert in very long adventures, Sylvain Tesson, telling about his travel by foot from Siberia to India: “If I say that I plan to walk all  the way to Mongolia, nobody minds a such abstract goal, but if I claim that I will reach the other side of the mountain, everyone on this side will rebel. […] Because it is what we know best, we fear more what is close to us than what is still far away.” We fear the virus more than climate change.

Sorting our priorities

Climate change and resource depletion are still the two biggest problems that we face worldwide. When the virus hit, we were able to go under lockdown as a last resort to mitigate the effects of the virus. There will be no immediate actions similar to a lockdown that we will be able to take when we face record droughts killing entire crops, when coastal areas inhabited by tens of millions of people are flooded by a combination of sea level rise and extreme weather events.

We will not see flying cars, we will see more low-energy mobility and we should prepare for it”.

 A key fact that I’ve realized few people know is the inertia and latency of GHE-induced climate change. When we added more than 100ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, we committed to hundreds of years of rising temperatures, that is, even if our emissions drop to zero tomorrow. The trajectory of our CO2 emissions will change the magnitude of the climate change, but with a 20-year latency. Managing our emissions now starts to make a difference in 2040. In other words, we will not be able to prevent these issues in 2040, by then we will be late by 20 years (this is 4 French presidential terms, 5 US ones).


Global temperature change predictions based on GHG-scenarios of the IPCC.
Source: Climate model IPSL-CM61-LR

Another key fact going under the radar of public media is the depletion of oil, which powers ~98% of transportation. Oil production has grown strongly after the 2008 economic crisis (completely mindless of the above), but the growth came almost exclusively from the US ‘shale’ plays, while Russia and Saudi Arabia were able to offset the decline of older oil fields (starting with the North Sea in Europe). Before the coronavirus, some experts were already shifting their predictions for US production, stable in 2020 and growing again for at least a few years after. Russia had declared they would peak before 2025 and maybe sooner. Now, with the considerable blow to this industry, investments in new production have been widely cancelled and US oil fields declined rapidly. Some experts point that both US shale and Russia may have reached their peak, and at least will never see significant growth again (compared to 2019 levels). To better understand what this means for our economy, I recommend listening to independent experts of energy transition, The Shift Project. To cut it short: we will not see flying cars, nor mass production of 2.3 ton electric private cars, we will see more low-energy mobility and we should prepare for it.


According to Rystad, oil production and demand will still be under 2019 levels at the end of 2021.
Source: Rystadenergy

What to do?

The mission behind Padam Mobility, the company I co-founded, is “Taking care of shared mobility.” It means we expect less resources in the future, less public acceptance to emit greenhouse gases, but also that we do not give up on mobility. This will not be achieved through more efficient cars. The only way to solve this equation – apart from cycling probably – is to share vehicles more. There are many versions of that, good old public transport, Demand-Responsive Transit (as proposed by Padam Mobility), carpooling, vehicle-sharing economy (provided that it does not cannibalize public transport)… We can still do much more: make energy-efficient modes more convenient and cheaper than the car in cities and suburbs, force all taxis and ride-hailing vehicles in cities to be shared, re-think our streets primarily for public transport, transform our economy to rely less on the jobs of the car-making industry.

Let us follow the health guidelines, wear masks, skip unnecessary travel and take other necessary measures to avoid a new significant wave of coronavirus infections. But let us also trust people around us, learn to share more what can be shared, solve issues in a collaborative way. Our freedom and ability to move in the future depend on that. Just like wearing masks saves lives today, using and promoting public transport today preserves our society in 2040 and beyond.

It is a time to be ambitious about public transportation.

 

Grégoire Bonnat – Co-founder & CEO, Padam Mobility

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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.

 

These articles might interest you:

 

Find out more about Padam Mobility

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4 essential steps for a demand responsive transport 2/2: Extending the service and integrating new use cases

essential steps for a demand responsive transport

The efficiency and success of a demand responsive transport (DRT) service is based on several steps. In this article, we will discuss the two other essential steps to the implementation of an efficient dynamic demand responsive transport service: the extension of the service and the technical and new use case integrations. essential steps for a demand responsive transport

What is a dynamic DRT?

The aim of a dynamic DRT is to rationalise public transport by adapting supply more closely to demand with more interesting economic and ecological benefits. Vehicles, reserved via a mobile application, a website or a call centre, replace underused or non-existent fixed lines. Their route is optimised thanks to algorithms.

Step 3: Service extension

The service extension stage is a move to scale aimed at perpetuating DRT to make it a structuring element of the mobility offer in the area in which it operates, to overcome the weaknesses of the existing transport network or to rethink the area’s public transport service plan by opening up poorly connected areas.

This step is used to identify the areas and use cases that best lend themselves to DRT in order to replicate the DRT model. It enables a “tools” strategy to be defined and implemented, following integration logics aimed mainly at replacing deficient fixed lines and/or converting under-utilised services.

The main challenges in extending the service are based on the method of acquiring the DRT software (calls for tender, over-the-counter, etc.), the balance with the rest of the network, integration with the existing network and its tools, performance monitoring and consolidation of service quality criteria.

What indicators should be taken into account at this stage?

  • The same as those of the pilot (step 2)
  • Acquisition, retention, use, mileage and knowledge of users.

 What questions should be asked before moving on to the next step?

  • Are there other needs or cases of unaddressed uses?
  • What is the capacity to replicate the service operationally in other areas, possibly with different operations or use cases?

Find out more about the service extension set up for Ile-de-France Mobilités (Paris region Public Transport Authority) by Padam Mobility

Step 4: technical integrations and new use cases

The principle of technical integrations: 

  • Adding new use cases to the existing DRT platform at marginal cost and benefiting from their advantages. In particular, this makes it possible to pool operating and management costs (vehicles, drivers, etc.).
  • To meet specific needs (e.g. transport of healthcare personnel in the event of a health crisis, substitution services in the event of works, occasional / event transport).

Cases of use that can be integrated:

  • Other shared public transport: Paratransit, school transport, evening service in stations without reservation, airport shuttles, etc.
  • Occasional transport: transport of healthcare staff in the event of a health crisis, substitute services in the event of works, occasional / event transport (e.g. a concert or football match).

Technical integrations are used to make DRT a brick perfectly integrated in your MaaS (Mobility as a Service) vision. As an aggregator of mobility solutions, it aims to offer individuals the opportunity to visualize their journeys from end to end regardless of the type of transport used (public/private, shared, soft, mass, etc.).

In practice:

  • DRT platform integrates with the local MaaS and allows users to complete their public transit trips with DRT.
  • The DRT itself integrates with the network, synchronizing with train schedules for example.
  • Finally, other transport solutions exist, such as carpooling, bike sharing, car sharing, taxis/VTC etc. The DRT can be combined with these other forms of transport to complete its offer when it becomes saturated. For example, the DRT platform can offer carpooling or taxi/VTC alternatives when no DRT is available in the next half hour, and vice versa.

Learn more about the integration of MaaS in Padam Mobility solutions

Our experience in DRT design, configuration and optimisation leads us to the observation of these 4 steps that we consider to be a good factor of success and efficiency of an DRT service. The success of an DRT service mainly includes user satisfaction with the service. In all cases, the best approach to adopt always consists in getting in touch with a dynamic DRT professional who will be best able to advise you in the implementation of your service.

Learn more about the two other essential step 1/2

 

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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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Public Authorities and Operators make massive use of DRT to adapt to the crisis

Demand-Responsive Transport CoVid 19

In this period of CoVid 19 health crisis, all of the affected countries have largely readjusted their transport offer. Demand responsive transport (DRT) is not exempt to this rule. The flexibility of its operation enables it to respond quickly and efficiently to the travel needs of the healthcare personnel while respecting the security measures in force. A tour of these DRT services that have been able to adapt overnight to the new health context.    

All over France, regular DRT services are adapting to serve healthcare institutions and responding to the caregiver’s rhythms.

In Menton, Zestbus, previously a regular shuttle service dedicated to the inhabitants of the town, has been transformed into a DRT service specially addressed to the carers of the riviera. In Fleurance near Toulouse, the existing DRT service for senior citizens or people with no means of transportation is being reconfigured to transport the staff of public health institutions. In Strasbourg, in the Grand-Est region, the Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS), in collaboration with Padam Mobility, has adapted its Flex’hop Z1 DRT service to the needs of hospital staff.The capacity of their vehicles is limited to two people in addition to the driver.

In Saint-Omer, in the Pas-de-Calais region of France, DRT Mouvéo’s service optimization algorithms have been adapted by Padam Mobility to expand the service perimeter and meet new travel needs.

 Some DRT services are created from scratch to improve the mobility of the medical profession.

As is the case in Nice,, where a DRT service has been specifically set up for hospital staff. Open 24/7, the vehicles are operated jointly by the Régie Ligne d’Azur and the city’s taxis.

The Transport of Persons with Reduced Mobility (TPMR) services are also open to the transport of care personnel.

In Bordeaux (Mobibus), Saint-Étienne (HandiSTAS), Nancy (Synergihp), Toulouse (Tisseo), Nantes (Tan), Orléans (TAO), Le Havre (MobiFil), existing MPRT services were opened free of charge – usually 24/7 – to hospital, clinic and Hospice staff. In Grenoble, the Fléxo+ TPMR service open exclusively to caregivers is used on average 130 times a day.

Demand responsive transports that remain open to the general public are organised in such a way as to ensure that social distancing measures are respected.

Ile-de-France Mobilités, the Ile-de-France transport authority, has decided to keep all its DRT (DRT IDFM Padam Mobility) services open after implementing numerous safety and health measures in partnership with local authorities and operators.

In Marne La Vallée, east of Paris, Plus de Pep’s DRT service working with Padam Mobility has been reconfigured by Padam Mobility to no longer offer journeys to or from the market.

In Lyon, the DRT service, TCL on demand, which works with Padam Mobility, the Sytral has reduced the number of seats available in each vehicle to two in order to comply with the 1 metre safety distance recommended by the authorities.

With the reduction in group travel in Bain-de-Bretagne, the community of communes has decided to maintain the Tadi Lib’ demand responsive transport service in the twenty communes of the inter-communal territory for the most vulnerable people. In Morbihan, the town of Auray and Keolis have decided to keep the DRT Auray Bus service open, under the same operating conditions, in particular to facilitate travel for healthcare staff and relatives of isolated people, while reinforcing health rules for the benefit of all.

In the Gard Rhodanien, the bus lines are closed except for transport on demand provided by the UGGO service, intended for people over 65 years of age.

DRT services abroad are not left behind and are also adapting to the health context. 

In York, USA, the DRT Rabbit transit service has implemented strict security measures following Governor Wolf’s recommendations.

In Scotland, 3 bus services have converted to DRT to guarantee service to the territories. In Edinburgh,  Border buses allow healthcare staff to travel free of charge. In Jedburgh and Newcastle, Peter Hogg and Telfords services remain open to all and are accessible by reservation 24/7.

In Padua, Italy, the operator Busitalia has modified its DRT Night Shift service. Initially designed for night travel by students, the service hours have been extended to the whole day.

In Quebec, in the municipality of Charlevoix, the  County Transit service also interrupted its night service to operate from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. In addition to meeting the travel needs of residents, it provides meals and essential supplies to seniors’ centres.

Local authorities and operators are organized and committed to guaranteeing the continuity of the public transport service in the best possible sanitary conditions and to providing a response adapted to the travel needs of healthcare personnel.  

Thanks to their flexible management, Padam Mobility’s dynamic DRT solutions have proven their efficiency and their ability to adapt to the particularities of these new contexts. The company continues its commitment to develop ever more intelligent and inclusive mobility solutions, more agile and supportive, which will adapt to tomorrow’s world, post Covid-19. 

 

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