DRT is a hot topic with recent launches across England and Scotland, and several procurements in the pipeline. As services are added in the UK, we can see how DRT connects people to public transport better, more reliably and more efficiently, reducing car trips and enabling people to get to work, education, activities and appointments.
A ‘Transport on Demand’ service means people can get to stations, to fixed bus routes and important facilities such as hospitals, shopping centres and venues. It’s a key service that needs a robust solution, and costs that scale appropriately to public transport.
Padam Mobility's technology enables Europe’s largest DRT service, integrated with the public transport network and ticketing system. It provides the platform for the area surrounding Paris, which lies outside of the densely populated urban core with its frequent metro, light rail and bus services. This area is now connected by a DRT service that has just grown from 30 to 40 zones over the summer.
"Padam has brought this experience to the UK and is excited to have a team of people who have worked at the sharp end of the bus industry and really understand how buses work, and are busy rolling out new DRT services to rural and peri-urban areas," says Padam's James West.
Padam Mobility in the UK powers HertsLynx, an on demand bus service centred on the town of Buntingford in Hertfordshire. The service connects Buntingford and surrounding villages and hamlets to stations in key hub towns including Stevenage, Letchworth and Bishop’s Stortford. Whilst it doesn’t allow travel within the towns, it does enable people to travel around the HertsLynx zone.
Covering a wide area of low sparse population, where villages may only consist of 30-40 homes, fixed line services are prohibitively expensive to run. The HertsLynx service, funded by the DfT Rural Transport Fund, has proved busy and popular, reaching its first year trip goals within 10 months.
The HertsLynx service follows a pattern observed in rural areas in the UK and Europe, where people find that they are less dependent on cars for transport even in villages that have not been well-connected to the transport network for some time.
Young people in particular benefit from the ability to travel independently – and car use is reduced as the ‘parent taxi’ is no longer required.
"This week we launched our fourth UK service, serving New Lubbesthorpe and the surrounding area, combining direct time-tabled services with DRT to serve areas beyond the fixed line corridors," says West.
James West previously worked for RATP Dev, joining the UK Graduate Management Scheme before spending two years across different modes of transport; Tram, London Bus and Commercial Bus before moving to Paris. He also had early hands-on experience with DRT, working on the first demand responsive transport service in the UK, Slide Bristol before managing the Slide Ealing Trial in conjunction with Transport for London.
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