January 5, 2021 (STUTTGART)-- SSB Flex 2.0, the next generation of the on-demand transit service SSB Flex in Stuttgart, will be launched on January 7. Going forward, SSB will work with ViaVan, Europe's leading provider of on-demand solutions, to power the service with its technology, and to gradually expand the on-demand offer in Stuttgart as SSB Flex 2.0.
SSB Flex was launched on June 1, 2018 as a pilot project for a new and digital mobility offer. It was one of the first on-demand services in Germany, and a pioneer in terms of comprehensive public transport integration. SSB Flex is available throughout the city.
With the findings of the first project phase and the city-wide service that operated seven days a week, SSB Flex was able to develop very well and achieved continuous growth with up to 3,600 customers transported each month before the pandemic.
SSB Flex is a component of SSB's strategy to further strengthen local public transport, especially at times and in places where there are currently still gaps in supply. SSB Flex is an innovative addition to classic public transport, and is also an attractive alternative to private vehicle use. This is because the service is readily available for booking through a mobile app, with a vehicle arriving in approximately ten minutes. The service uses technology to bundle trips, addressing high demand through intelligently shared rides. This makes SSB Flex an efficient and sustainable transport alternative.
The basis for the future of SSB Flex 2.0 is now being laid with the introduction of ViaVan’s advanced algorithms and technology platform. In addition to providing a highly-efficient, convenient, and affordable public mobility offering, ViaVan will enable SSB Flex 2.0 to provide an inclusive service that meets the needs of all riders.
Dietmar Fillinger, project manager at SSB Flex, says: “The first new functions will be available at launch. SSB Flex users can expect the following improvements beginning in January: enhanced app operation for the visually impaired, web booking, a communication option between driver and customer, and an app that will also be available in English. To this end, the fleet will be gradually expanded in 2021 and electrified with the new Mercedes Benz EQV shuttles."
A new telephone booking feature will be available for those without access to a smartphone. To ensure SSB Flex is barrier-free, passengers will be able to request and book wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
"We need modern mobility offers in Stuttgart in order to master the challenges of the mobility transition and the climate," says Thomas Moser, spokesman for the board of SSB.
“The on-demand offer is a flexible addition to today's public transport system, because it enables us to meet people in a simple and innovative way. To pick up exactly where there are currently gaps in supply. We are thus taking another, important step towards getting closer to our vision of future mobility."
“With the on-demand service, we want to make a further contribution to public services in Stuttgart in order to motivate even more people to switch from motorized individual transport to more climate-friendly public offers,” explains Mario Laube, commercial director.
“When technology powers public transport, municipalities are better able to serve the community with access to equitable, efficient, and affordable mobility offerings that entice riders away from private vehicles,” said Chris Snyder, ViaVan CEO. “We are proud to integrate ViaVan’s technology into the new generation of SSB Flex 2.0 as Stuttgart continues to build on its legacy of innovative solutions to strengthen public transport.”
Technology partner ViaVan
ViaVan provides the passenger and driver apps as well as the intelligent background system. ViaVan's technology, which is used for SSB Flex, matches multiple passengers headed in a similar direction to share a single vehicle. This is accomplished by dynamic routing to “virtual bus stops,” where passengers are directed in the app to meet their vehicle for pickup. This enables quick and efficient shared journeys without long detours or additional vehicle kilometers, creating a convenient and sustainable transport offering. The vehicles will be efficiently used and deployed using real-time demand data through the ViaVan platform.
ViaVan’s technology is already being used by a dozen cities and public transit agencies in German-speaking countries which include Berlin (BVG), Bielefeld (moBiel), Cologne (KVB), Lübeck (SVHL), Mainz (MVG), Neumünster (SWN), Oberhausen (STOAG), Wuppertal (WSW), and Zurich (VBZ).
Founded in 2012, Via pioneered the TransitTech category by using new technologies to power public mobility systems, optimizing networks of dynamic shuttles, buses, wheelchair accessible vehicles, school buses, and autonomous vehicles around the globe. Building the world’s most efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation network for all riders — including those with limited mobility, those without smartphones, and unbanked populations — Via works with its partners to lower the cost of public transit and provide accessible options that rival the convenience of a personal car at a much reduced environmental impact. At the intersection of transportation and technology, Via is a visionary market leader that combines software innovation with sophisticated service design and operational expertise to fundamentally improve the way the world moves, with 150 global partners on six continents, and counting.