The Routing Company expands on-demand transit in Scotland
On-demand vehicle routing and management platform specialist, The Routing Company (TRC), is partnering with the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran) to provide on-demand transportation for up to one year.
SEStran is a statutory regional transport partnership overseeing eight local councils, including East Lothian Council and the Scottish Borders Council.
Reducing social exclusion
The new service – anticipated to launch in spring 2023 – will operate in partnership between TRC and Prentice Coaches and will service the Haddington region and surrounding towns including Tranent, Humbie, and more.
The East Lothian Council area currently has limited public transport coverage, with approximately nine per cent of the population reportedly having no access to key destinations via public transport.
The area’s rural geography means car dependency is high, yet approximately 24 per cent of households in the area do not own a car. SEStran plans to work with TRC to maximise accessibility, and reduce social exclusion via the new on-demand service.
“Together, we have integrated our existing mobility-as-a-service platform with TRC’s Pingo app – marking the first time TRC has integrated with a local MaaS app”
“We chose to partner with TRC to meet our core goals of maximising accessibility for our community, providing an efficient service within the constraints of our fleet, and establishing and launching a new service quickly,” said Hattie James, project officer, SEStran. “Together, we have integrated our existing mobility-as-a-service platform with TRC’s Pingo app – marking the first time TRC has integrated with a local MaaS app. Through this, we will increase ridership on an established rural route, and explore improving the long-term viability of the route.”
With this deployment, SEStran becomes TRC’s fourth fleet in Scotland. Scottish riders can already use TRC’s Pingo platform in Campbeltown, Dunoon, and Berwickshire.
“TRC’s partnership with SEStran marks an important expansion of the Pingo brand in Scotland as well as the deployment of our Pingo Flex feature, which allows SEStran to get the most of out of its fixed bus service between rural towns and the main town centre,” said James Cox, CEO, TRC.
“Pingo Flex allows the service to operate on a fixed basis during the most popular times and to the most frequent destinations, while outside of these peak times, to operate as an on-demand service in an area not currently served by fixed routes. Ultimately, this will increase accessibility, reliability, and the efficiency of mobility for local residents.”
SEStran will utilise the full Pingo suite, including Transit Connect and Pingo Journey. Launched in 2022, Pingo Journey is a multimodal journey planning feature integrating TRC’s real-time routing technology with public transport infrastructure. Using Pingo Journey, riders can book on-demand rides and plan their ongoing fixed-route journeys from the single Ride Pingo app. The Transit Connect feature, which guarantees connections between on-demand and fixed-route services, will be used alongside Pingo Journey to connect riders to other rural bus services in the area.
“This service is especially needed to increase access to mobility – and TRC has proven its ability to service smaller, rural communities where fixed-route services have historically struggled to meet variable demand,” said Cox. “Our partnership with SEStran in East Lothian directly improves community mobility, and contributes to our purpose – that any community of any size, in any place, with any resources, can meet the transportation needs of its people.”
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