On 28 February, the new on-demand service started in the Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha, the largest service area in the country so far. The technology behind the new service is provided by the German software-as-a-service provider ioki, one of the leading providers for on-demand in Europe. 15 shuttle busses will improve public transport in 112 small towns in the greater area of the city of Cuenca. For the project, ioki is working closely with the district government of the Castilla-La Mancha region. The Spanish bus company Rubiocar is taking over the operation and is supported by mobility service provider MUFMI.
The new service, which is fully integrated into the existing local transport system, is in-tended to significantly improve local transport in the region. The pilot project will run two years and will gather valuable knowledge about new forms of public transport in Spanish rural areas. The shuttles already cover a service area of around 5000 square metres. In the long term, the service is planned to be extended by the district government. Then around two million inhabitants of Castilla la Mancha would benefit from a new digital and integrated public transport.
Nacho Hernando, Minister of Economic Development of Castilla-La Mancha, says: “Managing public transport in large parts of our region is a challenge due to the low population density. In collaboration with ioki, MUFMI and Rubiocar, we have created an innovative, fully digitalised, sustainable mobility model that benefits our citizens and the local economy. This project makes Castilla-La Mancha Spain’s new leader in rural mobility, combining the latest digital technologies and best practices for public transport management.”
Combination of regular service and ridepooling as new digital solution for rural areas
ioki supplies the application and the digital operating system for the project, which offers a combination of scheduled bus service and demand responsive transport. During peak hours, the shuttles run in regular service. Off hour, the minibuses operated by Rubiocar run without a fixed route or timetable, but according to the demands of the passengers. The algorithm by ioki bundles the requests and thus sustainably improves transport in rural areas. For the implementation of the project, ioki is working with local partner MUFMI, winner of the Spanish National Mobility Award 2021.
“With our platform, we are making a decisive contribution to improving public mobility in regions with low population density. The simple and flexible booking and the integration into the existing local transport increase the attractiveness and ensures fewer emissions from private cars,” says Benjamin Pfeifer, Chief Commercial Officer and member of the management at ioki, about the forward-looking project on the Spanish peninsula.
The subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn is constantly progressing its vision of digital and improved public transport with less traffic. In 2021, around 25 new services were launched with the ioki platform, including services in Germany, Switzerland and France. In 2022, further on-demand projects are to follow in Spain, among other countries.