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Green light: sprinti on-demand project will be expanded

15 June 2023 (HANNOVER)--  It is a green light for sprinti: After a two-year pilot project in the towns and municipalities of Wedemark, Sehnde, and Springe, Region Hannover's popular on-demand mobility service will now be expanded to twelve new municipalities in Region Hannover.

ÜSTRA has awarded the contract to Via, the leader in transportation technology (TransitTech). As an existing service provider, Via had already successfully carried out ongoing operations in the three pilot municipalities.

sprinti is one of the largest investments and innovations in the transport sector in the Hannover region, and creates mobility in rural areas. In the future, fare zone C of Greater Hannover Transport (GVH) will now also be completely covered by the innovative on-demand service.

The inclusion of the three pilot municipalities in the follow-up project on August 1 is also the starting signal for the service expansion. Beginning October 1, sprinti will launch in the eastern municipalities of Burgwedel, Burgdorf, Uetze, and Lehrte, followed by the western municipalities of Neustadt, Wunstorf, Barsinghausen, Wennigsen, and Pattensen on December 10.

Region President Steffen Krach: "Sprinti is and remains a showcase model from the Hannover Region that is unique in Germany in this comprehensive form. In combination with the simplicity offered by the Deutschlandticket or the 365-Euro-Jobticket, sprinti has become even more attractive than it already is. Mobility should be as simple and smart as possible - that's sprinti."

Head of Transportation Ulf-Birger Franz: "I am pleased that we now have the necessary legal certainty to provide nine additional municipalities with our on-demand offer. Sprinti is a completely new quality for local transport in rural areas."

Co-COO and European CEO of Via, Chris Snyder: “sprinti is a strong example of the success of on-demand public transport in Germany, and we are honored to continue our partnership with Region Hannover to expand the reach of the service. When technology is used to reimagine the way we move, we are able to increase public transport usage and equitable access to transport without a private vehicle, and sprinti has proven this impact to be both possible and lasting.”

Since the pilot phase, 30 sprinti vehicles have been operating in Wedemark, Springe, and Sehnde. With the expansion, the plan is to begin to introduce 100 hybrid minibuses that each seat six passengers into the service. In order to be able to support the service areas that are in greater demand, 20 minibuses, each with 18 seats, will also be deployed from December and operated directly by ÜSTRA. The 20 Mercedes Sprinter City 75s are leased from Tremonia Mobility in Dortmund. The two-door vehicles have 13 fixed seats, five folding seats, and a spacious special use area and a folding ramp, making them barrier-free, just like the smaller vehicles.

Sprinti will further increase the attractiveness of public transport in the Hannover region. The pilot phase has shown that the service is very popular: In 2022, a total of 380,000 trips were made in the three municipalities, and this year up to 2,200 passengers per day are using the on-demand minibus on peak days. According to a survey among sprinti riders, every third trip with sprinti replaces a private car ride. Every fourth respondent indicated they consider giving up a personal car since sprinti is available. More than 70% of passengers said they use the service to connect with the bus or train. (sprinti user survey, Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik, 2023).

The ease of use of the on-demand service also contributes to its success. No extra ticket needs to be purchased for sprinti; the minibus can be used with normal valid GVH tickets - including the Deutschlandticket, for example. Trips can be booked spontaneously via app or phone, usually with a waiting time of no more than 20 minutes and a maximum walk of 150 meters to the virtual sprinti stop. The booking software is programmed to offer rides only when no comparably good scheduled connections are available.

Sprinti is part of the public transport model project MoHaWiV (Modellregion Hannover: Wendepunkte im Verkehr) and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport.