Shotl welcomes Spring 2018 with the launch of a new service in the city of Montbéliard; located less than 20 Km from the Swiss border. The operation marks our very first in France!
Montbéliard is the capital of an urbanized area which has close to 140.000 inhabitants and includes 72 different municipalities. The agglomeration has 25 inter-urban bus lines, 11 of which are operated on an on-demand basis by CTPM – Groupe Moventis.
Previous management of the existing on-demand routes meant that a passenger wishing to travel on one of the 11 lines would have had to call the central operating system to make a reservation. Passengers needed to do this up to 2 hours in advance of their chosen travel time in order to make use of the pre-defined lines and timetables. This reservation would then be compared to previous bookings and the request could either be accepted, based on existing suitable routes (in accordance with available vehicles) or rejected, due to a shortage of available of bookings.
In coordination with the operator, Shotl has developed a three-phase plan to incorporate the Shotl Village solution which aims to create a more accessible transport system within the region.
In the soft launch phase, Shotl substitutes the operation of the current system; allowing the operator’s staff to become familiar with the platform. Requests from Service-users are introduced to the operations team via call-center staff using Shotl’s management module; this allows for alternative times to be suggested to passengers should their preferred route be unavailable. Every evening, an e-mail is sent to the operators indicating the route planned for the following day. If there are bookings placed on the same day, an update e-mail is sent out.
In the full deployment phase, implementation will include usage of both Driver and User Apps. Passengers will be able to; book requests for themselves up to 7 days in advance, keep track of their current bookings, get notified 15 minutes before their pickup and see the vehicle’s position on their smartphone.
Shotl will help to reduce uncertainty and shorten bus stop waiting time. All requests will then be implemented as part of the bus route.
Route plans will be updated and provided to the driver in real time through a tablet-compatible Driver App. The App will also help the driver navigate the route, allowing the next stop to be found with greater ease. Additionally, it will register every time a passenger enters and leaves a vehicle.
This second phase will; reduce call center staff workload, increase the attractiveness of the service by reducing passenger uncertainty, and implement control mechanisms (eg. automatically banning users that make reservations but do not show up at the stop).
Phase three will start after 3-4 months of operation when the Shotl Platform will have collected precise data about the service such as; demand profiles, most popular origins and destinations, service quality (delays and travel times), user satisfaction through surveys, etc. This data will then be fully shared with the operator which will allow the service to be improved as necessary, orientating it towards more flexibility and immediacy. Why tell passengers where and when to travel if we can let them define and shape their own preferred routes?