After years of austerity and the fall of subsidy rates, transportation companies will surely have to confront a down run of cash reserves. That’s a consequence of the various crisis over the last few years, yet now Covid-19 has introduced a new challenge.
Over the latest months, operators have been losing as much as 90% of revenues from passenger fares, as individuals remain at home. The measure has generally been to operate at a reduced timetable since the lockdown, yet even the minimum services have barely any passengers on board, resulting in what's known as ‘ghost-buses’.
While services need to be reduced, they cannot be interrupted, as public service agreement forces transportation companies to comply with the minimum services to fulfil demand in less popular -and often highly subsidized- routes.
On a cross-subsidy model, the most popular routes finance those less-used in outer neighborhoods, villages or business parks. Even in non-pandemic times, there shouldn’t be any issue with social distancing in those areas, and digital solutions like the Shotl platform, providing demand responsive bus services can now become an essential solution to keep the service going.
But the problem now has extended to the most popular bus lines, as the lack of trust has taken the levels of demand down to 30%. Travelers demand now a much safer and reliable experience, far from the crowded commutes we were used to during peak times before the lockdown.
To tackle this new challenge, the product development team at Shotl have been working round the clock during the lockdown to discover ways to innovate so that spaced safe travel can be always ensured. The result is called LetsBus, an app that allows drivers to count passengers and keep track of the levels of ridership.
LetsBus is a Mobility App that facilitates access control and limits the capacity of passengers on board. Through the App, drivers control vehicle occupancy at all times, which helps travelers waiting at the next bus stop access the available space of the coming bus. Finally, the transport operator gets real time occupancy data of the fleet and -as LetsBus sorts data on travel times, passenger pick-up and drop-off and permanent geolocation- additional vehicles can be deployed during times of higher demand.
With this new application, fleet operators have full and permanent control of the capacity of the vehicles or the number of seats used on board. Hence transportation authorities can obtain updated occupancy data of their fleet – all in real-time.
If we want to recover people’s trust in bus services, we must guarantee social distancing on board at all times, and groundbreaking technology is now vital for cities to supply efficient robust public transport services. The goal of Shotl and LetsBus is to help achieve greater optimization of the fleet and to reduce the level of operating costs, in a scenario of lower demand.
To request a demo of LetsBus and find out how it can help your transportation company manage vehicle capacity, contact us at email@example.com and we’ll get back to you shortly.
Shotl deploys Demand Responsive Transportation in the city of Monza, sponsored by the local transport authority, Monza Mobilità SRL, and the City Council.