Flexa: Connection of outlying areas through Demand Responsive Transport
About this good practice
Flexa offers flexible travel options by intelligently bundling travel requests. The program offers people in various suburbs of the city of Leipzig, which are poorly served by public transport a way to get to major public transport hubs without a car. Customers can enter their current location and desired destination via an app. After entering the desired departure time and number of passengers, the app will offer the customer a customized ride. Direct connections within the service area are possible. Transfers outside the sevice area are also possible, and transport to the stationary public transport system is also offered. If there is a parallel connection through existing scheduled transport, no offer is made by Flexa, but reference is made to the scheduled transport. During implementation, 120 virtual stops were created in the north of Leipzig, which are offered to the customer as starting points for the trip with Flexa. The journeys are carried out with E-vehicles. Starting in 2019, parts of the outer districts of the north of Leipzig were made accessible by this service. An expansion to the outskirts in the southeast was already implemented and others will follow at the end of 2022.
The service is operated by the municipal transport company. For the implementation, they have engaged the provider GHT Mobility GmbH, which has already been active in the field of Demand Responsive Transport for years and has meanwhile been taken over by state-owned Deutsche Bahn AG.
In the first 5 months of implementation the costs amounted to 380,000 euros. The pilot project is being funded t by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, further development is being funded by the EU as part of "Dynaxibility4CE".
Evidence of success
The service has been very well received so far, with over 240,000 passengers transported within the Leipzig North area and to local transport hubs since the service was created in 2019. There are a total of around 120 virtual stops so far and 15.000 connections made.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice should be considered for implementation in other regions. In particular, the connection of the suburbs to the city centers, which is often inadequate, can be achieved in this way. In this way, the elderly and disadvantaged people (people with disabilities, etc.) in particular are given the opportunity to participate better in public life and to take advantage of necessary medical services. At the same time, the money for the construction of permanent infrastructure, such as bus stops, streetcar lines or other, is saved. Running costs can also be adjusted according to demand. Thus, the methods offer ideal conditions for implementation in suburbs of urban areas, but also in rural areas. Because this is a completely new field, there are also numerous opportunities for funding in other regions of Europe, for example through national and European funding programs.