On-demand transport

After several years of pilot projects involving various on-demand transport services, we are now looking at the possibility of combining flexible on-demand transport with our standard fixed route network. A transition to a new normal will require more flexible services, and flexible on-demand transport will be one of several opportunities to meet these new transport requirements.

Flexible on-demand transport as part of the new normal

Throughout 2021, we worked to improve the quality of on-demand transport. We acquired new knowledge and looked at connections between different customer needs. With the use of new technology, we have the opportunity to utilise our existing vehicle fleet for flexible transport over a larger geographical area. We believe that area-wide on-demand transport will be capable of providing our customers with a flexible mobility offering that is better positioned to meet the travel needs of the new normal. As part of our work towards a new standard, we have also tested on-demand solutions for self-driving vehicles in Ski, as well as further developed Activity Transport as a concept.

Pilot Nes

In 2021, we further developed flexible on-demand transport services and tested them on new target groups. Pilot Nes started as an initiative to test an on-demand transport service for the elderly in sparsely populated areas. The pilot is a partnership project between Ruter, Viken County Municipality, Nes Municipality and the EU’s Response research project. With the pandemic generating changing travel habits, and fewer travellers in sparsely populated areas, the pilot project was expanded in 2021 to include all target groups – as well as driving high school students home from school. Three standard on-demand services were temporarily suspended to test area-wide on-demand transport as a tool in the transition to the new normal. Our immediate experience from Pilot Nes shows that a flexible on-demand transport offering for everyone works well in sparsely populated areas, but we still have more to learn in order to develop a service that is more financially viable.

In 2021, Ruter contributed data to the EU Response project on which Ruter collaborates with other public transport operators and educational establishments in several European countries to develop sustainable transport services in sparsely populated areas. As part of this project, Ruter published the Innovation Process for On-demand Transport report. The report describes insights and learning Ruter has gained by piloting on-demand transport services adapted to specific target groups. The report has already been used as a basis for an on-demand transport scheme in Saareema in Estonia.

Statistics from the nine-month period of the pilot

Number of journeys: 5,068

Number of customers: 350

Productivity: 1.13 journeys per hour

Age-friendly transport

In 2021, age-friendly transport was expanded to the areas of Alna and Bjerke. In close collaboration with the City of Oslo, this pilot project continued in 2021 – with new learning goals and further service development. We focused increasingly on the use of booking via the app and introduced the option of transport across all the six districts participating in the service. From May 2021, it also became possible to use age-friendly transport for travel to and from Sørkedalen, Solemskogen and Maridalen.

These changes were very well received. Even during the pandemic, the pilot project reached new record highs in terms of number of journeys and new customers. This means that the productivity of the service has kept increasing and that the cost per journey is continuously decreasing. In 2021, the City of Oslo received the ‘Live Your Life All Your Life’ Award – for its work to promote an age-friendly city, and age-friendly transport was highlighted as a valued initiative among Oslo’s elderly population.

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“It’s so nice to be able to call and get picked up right outside the gate here; then I can go where I want – sometimes I join a small excursion and enjoy a good conversation. It’s a really great service.”

Customer – woman, aged 70-85