A 1977 New York Times article, The Ride That Comes on Call, highlighted a new and helpful mobility service for residents in western Suffolk, New York: Dial-a-Ride. Acting Transportation Director John Sheridan announced that the service has “given them wheels. It’s given them legs!”
When it was introduced in the 60s as the first form of demand-responsive transport (DRT), Dial-a-Ride was a huge step forward for mobility, giving those without private cars or access to mass transit equal mobility access. But over half a century has passed and these services have mostly stuck with the status quo, which is no longer working.
Now, advances in transit tech are enabling agencies to digitize and improve these costly but essential services. The new technologies are designed to better fit each service zone and their riders’ needs while reducing costs to the agency.
Today we’re excited to announce a new partnership and another successful launch of a modernized demand-responsive transport solution: Ventura’s FlexiRide service, located just outside Melbourne, Australia in Rowville and Ferntree Gully.
Powered by Moovit On-Demand, the new, digitized service replaces three fixed-route lines that served the areas surrounding two major hubs: a mass transit station and a shopping center. Before the introduction of FlexiRide, the previous Teleride service required calling ahead to book a seat on a fixed-route bus, which was cumbersome and time-consuming for operators and drivers and resulted in long wait times for the riders.
Now, instead of waiting for the next bus, riders can use the FlexiRide app to book their on-demand ride up to a week in advance or just minutes before the ride is required. Once their booked time is near, riders are directed to a close-by virtual stop where they board their bus, with new wait times averaging 6 minutes.
Read the case study: Optimizing First-/Last-Mile Connections with FlexiRide Demand Responsive Transport
The dynamic service has no fixed route or timetable, instead responding to demand. It’s primarily a first-/last-mile solution, requiring riders to use one of the two hubs as their destination or pick-up point. The service also caters to those with special needs, offering tailored door-to-door service for those who require it.
Besides the new demand-responsive transportation service, FlexiRide also offers a complete urban mobility app to Melbourne residents, with the ability to plan and pay for shared and public transit journeys whether they’re in the DRT zone or not. Powered by Moovit’s White Label App, FlexiRide offers real-time arrival times for available shared and public transit mobility services, bolstered with the best route options for each trip, live directions guidance, real-time service alerts, and TalkBack and VoiceOver capabilities for low-vision or impaired users.
Services like Ventura’s FlexiRide and SMART’s On-Demand Quick Connect are helping transit agencies bring back riders to public transportation. These flexible, dynamic services get people out of their cars, ease congestion, free up parking, and create more integrated transport networks that work better for all citizens. It’s our pleasure partnering with forward-thinking agencies like Ventura who understand what their riders need and act to improve services with new, more modern technologies.
Here’s how the new FlexiRide service works: