The Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) has launched one of the largest on-demand transport projects in Europe: Beginning in early 2021, it will be possible to book electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles in the RMV region. In cooperation with initially nine local partners the passengers will be taken to their destinations flexibly and without a fixed timetable. In the long term, up to 1.8 million people in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main metropolitan area will benefit from this. The new offer is based on the needs of the passengers – it is simple, comfortable and environmentally friendly. The intelligent on-demand platform behind the project is developed by the DB subsidiary ioki, which won the Europe-wide tender as technology partner. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is funding the project with 27 million euros as part of the funding guideline «Digitalization of municipal transport systems
Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure: «Ordering digitally, driving comfortably, arriving relaxed: On-demand services strengthen public transportation and make mobility even more flexible – in the city and in rural areas. Next year, people in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region will be able to switch to emission-free on-demand shuttles. That is active climate protection. We are supporting this innovative project with 27 million euros.
«Our goal in Hesse is to make public transportation more and more attractive – because buses and trains are climate-friendly means of transport. That’s why the state is doing everything it can to strengthen the public transport system, with rail expansion and flatrate tickets,» says Hessen’s Minister of Economics and Transport, Tarek Al-Wazir. «On-demand shuttles can be a contribution to an intelligently linked transport system that brings everyone to their destination in a comfortable and environmentally friendly manner. I would like to thank the federal government for its financial support, we as a state are also engaged in the funding agreement with the RMV».
«RMV is the first public transport association to coordinate an on-demand project across several districts and municipalities throughout Germany, thus bringing to life one of the largest on-demand projects in Europe,» says RMV Managing Director Prof. Knut Ringat. «The approximately 150 zero-emission vehicles are an excellent complement to the local public transport service and offer a new way of traveling the first and last mile. In this way, we offer a viable, sustainable alternative to the private car.”
Sophisticated on-demand platform developed by ioki
«The intelligent software and therefore the core of the on-demand transport offer is supplied by our DB subsidiary ioki. We want to replace single trips in private cars with ridepooling in environmentally friendly vehicles – in line with the climate and traffic turnaround. Our on-demand service combines the backbone of sustainable mobility, i.e. traditional public transport, with digitally driven, new mobility services, generating real added value for passengers,» says Berthold Huber, DB Board Member for Passenger Transport.
With ioki’s on-demand software, the interests and needs of passengers, drivers and operators can be met equally: The passenger app allows a user-friendly booking of the shuttle, the driver app provides the driver with all relevant journey information and the administration tool allows the operator to monitor and manage ongoing operations. The intelligent algorithm ensures an efficient utilization of the vehicles, thanks to the ridepooling approach in which carpools are formed between passengers with similar departure and destination.
As early as January 1, 2021 kvgOF in the Offenbach district will be the first partner to convert its existing on-demand service «kvgOFHopper» to the ioki platform. The other partners will follow in the course of 2021, so that by the end of 2021 all nine projects will be available locally. With the standardized app, passengers will then be able to book the zero-emission shuttle service seven days a week, which will take them to their respective destinations on individual routes. As the service is integrated into the existing
public transport system, the individual trips only cost a small surcharge on top
of the RMV ticket: for example, if you don’t want to look for a parking space
in the region of Offenbach am Königsee, you can book the shuttle for those approximately 3.5 kilometers to the train station in Seligenstadt for around three euros.
Close collaboration with local partners
The RMV is responsible for the central coordination of the project and bundles information as well as booking and payment process and provides customer service. It also develops a tariff framework for the offers. The local partners are the transport companies and public transport organizations of the cities and districts. These include Frankfurt a.M. (traffiQ), Offenbach (KVG Offenbach), Hofheim (MTV), Kelsterbach (LNVG GG), Limburg an der Lahn (City of Limburg), Darmstadt Dieburg (DADINA), Taunusstein (RTV), Hanau (HSB) and Darmstadt (HEAG mobilo). Further partners may be added in the course of the project. The partners manage and arrange the specific local offer, such as the operating hours or the orientation towards certain target groups.