June 30, 2021 (Takahagi City) -- Takahagi City, Ibaraki Kotsu, Michinori Holdings, and Via Mobility will launch a new on-demand bus service called “My Ride Noruru” in Takahagi City, starting on July 1, 2021.
This trial project is based on the “Dynamic Routing Poc Agreement” among Takahagi City, Ibaraki Transportation, and Michinori Holdings, which began on March 23, 2021.
Specification of on-demand bus and purpose of introduction:
The on-demand bus service utilizes Via’s advanced algorithms and AI to determine the most optimal routes and schedules, based on real-time requests from riders. In addition to the existing bus stops, bus operators will be routed to a network of “Virtual Bus Stops (VBS)” that reduce detours and increase efficiency and convenience for riders.
The AI routing system is developed by Via, the leader in TransitTech. Via works with more than 500 partners across the globe, including cities, public transportation authorities, operators, companies, and school district to lower the provide accessible transit options that rival the convenience of a personal car at a much reduced environmental impact.
Riders will book a ride through the “My Ride Noruru” app, or by calling a customer booking telephone line. In the mobile app, riders will input their location and destination, and Via’s AI Routing System will design the best route and schedule, matching multiple passengers headed in a similar direction together into a single vehicle. This reduces congestion and emissions, and creates a seamless rider experience.
The on-demand bus service will complement and extend traditional fixed-line, fixed-schedule bus service, filling the gaps where it is needed most for commuters with flexible travel needs. In Takahagi City, the City plans to use the trial to increase convenience for residents by running a fixed-route bus in the morning and evening hours, and the on-demand bus in between.
Specifics of the service:
We are providing the following merit to riders with our service:
- By using a network of "Virtual Bus Stops", the service will minimize the walking distance of riders to meet their vehicle
- During the service hours (8:30-15:00), riders can call the on-demand bus at any time
- Riders have visibility through the mobile app to the exact location of their bus stop, the current location of their bus, an estimated time of arrival, and vehicle and driver identification information
- Once riders have boarded their ride, they can check ride progress and location in the mobile app, and will be able to follow the route as they approach the “Virtual Bus Stop” near their destination.
In the POC, the on-demand bus service will launch in July 2021 in one area, and will expand to cover the rest of the service zone step-by-step. By the end of 2021, the service will cover almost all of the bus operating area in Takahagi City.
- Phase 1: July- September 2021, Mon. - Fri., 8:30-15:00, 1 vehicle
- Phase 2: October- December 2021, Mon. - Fri., 8:30-15:00, 2 vehicles
- Phase 3: January-March 2021, Mon. - Fri., 8:30-15:00, 4 vehicles, Sat. - Sun. 9:00-14:00, 2 vehicles
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 more than 500 global partners on six continents, and counting.