May 17, 2023 (STUTTGART, GERMANY) — "Riding a bus without a schedule or stops. Does that work?" Yes, it works! And it does with on-demand, tech enabled transportation services, as it’s known in the industry. The new service is called “VVS Rider”. The first VVS Rider service will be launched in Leinfelden-Echterdingen on May 23, 2023. A minibus will provide flexible, on demand connections within Leinfelden and Echterdingen without a timetable.
Passengers order the minibus via the free "VVS Rider App" or by phone. The bus collects passengers with similar routes and takes them to their destinations one after the other - from A to B, with only a short walk to the next stop.
Environmentally friendly and flexible mobility for rural areas
"On-demand transport networks are an important contribution to expand mobility in rural areas. The new VVS Rider is a real alternative to the car for the population and enables a trip from A to B without a long way to the bus stop," said the First State Officer of the Esslingen district, Dr. Marion Leuze-Mohr.
"The new great VVS Rider offer makes environmentally friendly bus transport in the city much more flexible and thus also more attractive. We assume that the VVS Rider will therefore be well received by citizens. Those who don't have a smartphone can also call 0711 99 52 10 77," adds Leinfelden-Echterdingen's Mayor Dr. Carl-Gustav Kalbfell. The VVS Rider replaces the City Bus Line 819, which has recently been in low demand.
The VVS fleet has long since consisted of more than just trains and buses. "The mobility network has long included shared cabs, rental bikes and car-sharing services. As of now, the VVS Rider complements the offer. That's why it goes without saying that the VVS fare also applies to the ride," says Thomas Knöller, who is responsible for the planning department at VVS. Passengers with a VVS season ticket or a day and one-way ticket can travel free of charge.
“Via’s on-demand public transportation software matches VVS Rider passengers headed in the same direction into one vehicle. Passengers are then directed to a nearby “virtual bus stop” for a convenient pickup and dropoff – resulting in a flexible, dynamically-routed public transport experience. We’re very proud to partner with VVS to launch Rider, which creates a new frontier of mobility for citizens in the Stuttgart region,” said Chris Snyder, Via’s European CEO.
The VVS Rider runs with one vehicle from Monday to Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. There is a dense network of virtual stops in the two districts of Leinfelden and Echterdingen. On behalf of Friedrich Müller Omnibusunternehmen (FMO), CleverShuttle as operator takes care of the operational implementation of the on-demand service. "As a specialized operator, we are pleased to provide reliable operations and enable more people to enjoy attractive mobility”, says Alexander Brüll, General Manager of CleverShuttle. The company provides all services for efficient transport from a single source - from the recruitment of driving personnel and vehicle procurement to the management of live operations.
Further VVS Rider offers are being prepared in the districts
In the course of the year, the VVS Rider will also come to the Rems-Murr district. The VVS Rider will then take passengers in Winnenden, Leutenbach, Berglen, Buoch and Welzheim, Kaiserbach and Alfdorf to their destinations. At the end of 2023, the VVS Rider project will also be launched in the district of Göppingen - primarily in the upper Filstal around Geislingen/Steige. As a clinic shuttle, another vehicle will operate for the most part in the same area, but exclusively as a shuttle service to and from the district hospital in Göppingen.
In the Böblingen district, a VVS Rider will also go into operation in Rutesheim and Renningen at the end of the year. There is also an extra feature: With the VVS Rider, trips to and from the IMAX in Leonberg are also possible.
The uniform VVS Rider system allows passengers to book trips throughout the entire network area with just one app. In addition, the VVS Rider app also has access to the Stuttgart on-demand shuttle "SSB Flex" and vice versa.
Founded in 2012, Via pioneered the transportation technology category (TransitTech) by using new technologies to develop public mobility systems, optimizing networks of buses, shuttles, vehicles for the disabled, school buses, autonomous vehicles, and electric vehicles around the world. By building the world's most efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation network for all passengers-including those with limited mobility, those without smartphones, and people without bank accounts-Via works with its partners to lower public transportation costs and provide transportation options that can rival the convenience of a personal car while reducing 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 radically improve the way the world moves, delivering technology in 600 cities and more than 35 countries.