Knut and his family are part of the RMV-On-Demand project, which is testing this innovative mobility service in a total of nine cities and districts. On Saturday, 19 November 2022, Knut, the name of the on-demand service in the north of Frankfurt, celebrated his birthday at Merton’s Passage in the Mertonviertel. Invited were its supporters, local political celebrities and, of course, those who travel flexibly with the three small electric buses in Frankfurt North: The citizens.
Via an app or by phone, people in the northern districts can call Knut to one of around 1,500 existing or virtual stops and then have him drive them. The north station in Bad Vilbel is also included. The cost of the ride is only slightly higher than the RMV bus and train ticket, and payment is always cashless.
Knut’s passenger numbers are developing positively: while in October 2021 there were still 350 passengers using the shuttle buses, in July 2022 the number of 1000 people was reached for the first time. With the expansion of the service area and the service times from 11 October 2022, the number of passengers increased directly to almost 1200 per month.
The shuttle is used particularly frequently to get to and from the S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations in the north of Frankfurt. But Knut is also popular for going shopping, to the sports club or even to school. CleverShuttle, as the operator of the on-demand transport, takes care of the control and coordination of all operational processes and ensures that passengers are on their way punctually and safely. The algorithm in the background bundles the trip requests and thus ensures better local mobility with less traffic from Bonames to Kalbach-Riedberg.
And those who ride with Knut are also satisfied: whether for the ride itself, the driving staff or the vehicle, an average of 4.9 out of 5.0 points are awarded. Knut even receives an even five points for cleanliness. The RMV On-Demand app, developed by the DB company ioki, also receives top marks: Users rate it with 4.8 out of 5.0 points.
The joint project OnDeMo, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) with a total of 27 million euros, will run as a pilot project until 31 December 2024.
Councillor Stefan Majer, Frankfurt’s Head of Department for Mobility and Health:
«With Knut, we have significantly improved local transport in the northern districts of Frankfurt. I am pleased about this attractive and environmentally friendly on-demand service – innovations like this are an important contribution to the mobility turnaround.»
Prof. Knut Ringat, Managing Director of Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund:
«On-demand services complement bus and rail in an ideal way – Knut and his friends show this every day at RMV. The fact that the project was recently awarded the German Mobility Prize 2022 shows once again its success. I warmly congratulate Knut on his first birthday and am delighted that he and eight other partners are part of Germany’s largest on-demand network.»
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tom Reinhold, Managing Director of traffiQ Frankfurt am Main
«As a partner in RMV’s innovative on-demand network, traffiQ can gain valuable insights into new forms of public transport. One thing is already certain: on-demand makes public transport more individual and thus much more attractive.»
Bruno Ginnuth, Managing Director and co-founder of KNUT operator CleverShuttle:
«With Knut, public transport in Frankfurt has become even more flexible, attractive and digital. As an operator of on-demand transport, we ensure that passengers reach their destination safely and reliably and are delighted that the service has been so well received.»
Dr Michael Barillère-Scholz, Managing Director of the software partner ioki:
«Knut is already successfully showing citizens today what the digital future of mobility looks like. App use and our software make the decisive difference for passengers here – with the expansion, the service now fits the mobility needs in the north of Frankfurt even better.»
A little history: One year of Knut
With three electric minibuses, the on-demand transport Knut starts in the northern Frankfurt districts of Bonames, Harheim, Nieder-Erlenbach and Nieder-Eschbach. «Duty time» is daily from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., around 600 real and «virtual» stops are served.
Due to the summer closure of the S-Bahn line between Frankfurt and Bad Vilbel, Knut now also serves the (north) station Bad Vilbel. Due to the good response, the service will be maintained after the end of the S-Bahn closure.
Knut is expanding: The districts of Kalbach- Riedberg, Frankfurter Berg and Berkersheim are newly included, it serves around 1500 real and «virtual» stops. On weekends, i.e. on Saturday and Sunday nights, the shuttle can be ordered around the clock.
Further information about the project: rmv.de/ondemand
Further information on Knut: rmv-frankfurt.de/knut
*) «EMIL» is the name of the on-demand service in Taunusstein (Rheingau-Taunus district), «SiGGi» the one in Kelsterbach (Groß-Gerau district).
Image rights: © Stefan Krutsch