ViaVan has launched an on-demand public transport service called Pikmi in partnership with the Zurich Transport Authority (VBZ).
It is the Swiss city’s first on-demand transport service and a fleet of MPVs will fill the gaps in the evening hours from 8pm to midnight when traditional public transport offerings are less available.
The service is booked through the Pikmi mobile app, powered by technology from ViaVan.
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.
An 18-month pilot will demonstrate the ways in which technology can increase efficiency in public transport, while reducing private vehicle traffic.
By introducing a new flexible mobility concept, VBZ wants to react to changing public transport usage habits and provide a customer-friendly offering.
Michael Baumer, head of the industrial companies of the City of Zurich, said: “It has become clear as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that we have to respond to new challenges with innovative ideas.
“It is therefore important to test new technologies in operation.
“In addition, the pilot project, which is part of the city's strategic focus areas, is another step for Zurich towards becoming a smart city.”
On-demand public transport
The Pikmi mobile app shows passengers the expected waiting time until pick-up, and the route to the nearest stop.
ViaVan’s technology 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, masks are required in the vehicles.
Additionally, seat capacity will be limited to a maximum of three out of the total five seats to allow for more distance between the passengers.