The Tele-Bus is an on-demand “many to many” public transport (PT) service with fixed stop points but flexible routes and timetables which operates every day
The service is available in three districts with low-density residential and industrial areas where a conventional PT service is inappropriate. Dedicated to DRT (demand responsive transport) only, the daily service operation is managed by the transport dispatch centre (TDC) which belongs to the Tele-Bus operator – Miejskie Przedsiebiorstwo Komunikacyjne SA MPK (Public Transport Operator in Krakow). Customers book the service via TDC using a special free phone number.
The online booking must be made at least 30 minutes before the planned start of the trip. The Tele-Bus visualisation concept is based on a special corporate identification system applicable to all elements of the service, i.e. vehicles, bus stops, and customer information material. Corporate blue and green colours of the Tele-Bus distinguish the flexible service from conventional PT
The main objectives of launching this service were as follows:
• to better attune PT to the needs of the citizens
• to provide the link to those bus lines running to the city centre
• to manage the PT fleet in a more effective manner
• to extend the existing PT system within the framework of current pricing and service regulations
• and finally to increase the number of PT users.
The cost of operating the service in the first year: 569 378 PLN (drivers: 344 858 PLN, dispatchers: 142 296 PLN, vehicle: 82 224 PLN); implementation of the Tele-Bus service (project): approx. 415 000 € (additional software cost)
Evidence of success
The DRT service launched in Krakow developed gradually during its first year, starting with 300 customers per month in the first quarter, exceeding 2000 passengers served in 01/2008 and finally reaching a stable monthly average of 1900 Tele-Bus users. The people in the Tele-Bus operation area were sceptical about the idea of a flexible PT but eventually accepted this innovative solution and now can't imagine PT without the Tele-Bus. No. of passengers 2008: 19859; 2016: 46548
- learning from experiences of other PT systems is crucial but each DRT service should be customised to local needs;
- it is important to define the objectives (why a flexible service will be implemented, what kind of customers will be served)
- a good and reliable DRT technology
Potential for learning or transfer
The service can be used in districts with low-density residential and industrial areas where a conventional PT service is inappropriate. This successful project has been watched by other Polish cities, and some of them are giving consideration to the Tele-Bus flexible lines as an alternative to the conventional service in new areas not yet covered by PT. This means that there is a real chance for the further development of DRT services in Poland.
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