Zurich Launch of ViaVan On-Demand Mobility

The Swiss city of Zurich has launched its first on-demand public transport service in league with European mobility specialist ViaVan.

Zurich Transport Authority (VBZ) is hoping the service’s vehicles fill the transportation gaps in the evening hours from 8 pm to midnight when traditional public transport offerings are less available. In addition to the Zurich quarters of Altstetten and Albisrieden, the operating area also includes the Triemli and Hardplatz transport hubs.

Within areas, the ‘Pikmi’ service enables connections to all public transport booked through a mobile app. The evening bus is fully integrated into the public transport zone tariff, so that passengers do not have to buy an additional ticket for the journey.

The 18-month pilot introduces a flexible mobility concept to reflect changing public transport usage habits.

The app shows passengers the expected waiting time until pick-up, and the route to the nearest stop. It matches multiple passengers headed in a similar direction into a single vehicle and calculates the most efficient route in real-time. With every journey there is, therefore, the possibility that the route will be adjusted slightly and that additional passengers may join the ride.

Since the vehicles are shared, the national protection concept for public transport under COVID-19 applies. Masks are required in the vehicles and seat capacity will be limited to a maximum of three out of the total five seats to allow for more distance between the passengers.

ViaVan CEO Chris Snyder, said: “Flexible, shared mobility solutions like Pikmi can expand access to public transport and thus create a long-term alternative to private transport. ViaVan’s algorithm enables fast and efficient shared journeys that avoid unnecessary detours and long wait times, and at the same time reduce traffic and emissions.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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