Roll out of the Transport-on-Demand services in Latvia are progressing, despite challenges

Vidzeme Planning Region (Latvia) actively continues to work on the implementation of the Transport on Demand (ToD) service in two municipalities of Vidzeme region – in Alūksne and Mazsalaca counties. Initially, the project team predicted the launch of the service by the beginning of the summer of 2019, but currently the planned activities are delayed due to objective circumstances.

Līga Puriņa-Purīte who is the project manager of MAMBA in Latvia explains: “In this cross-border project, we have taken a strong desire to pilot one of the flexible transport services known as a “transport on demand”. It has been running in several countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world already for at least 20 years, but not only for Latvia, but for many countries it is still a less-known solution. Admittedly, the regulatory framework in Latvia is inflexible and is currently not well suited for introducing new solutions for the transportation of people and not even for testing a new solution. We have thought how to implement the ToD so that it does not conflict with Latvian law. A lot of time and work has required to coordinate plans and to wait for permission from both responsible authorities in Latvia and international organizations. We have dealt with the issue with all parties involved and at different levels – with lawyers, transport and procurement specialists, carriers, municipal management, Road Transport Administration and Transport Minister of Latvia. Although not as smooth as hoped, however, the process is moving forward, and we are working to make the inhabitants of Alūksne and Mazsalaca county trying the ToD service during the 2019.”

In order to implement the ToD service, a special software will be developed that will be the main tool for registering users of the service. The main tasks consists of creating routes, pass on additional information additional to the driver of the vehicle (such as the need to pick up a passenger at the place of residence, the necessity of car seat for children, etc.), as well as the driver will be able to mark the booked trip as accomplished when the passenger has reached his or her destination successfully.

In mid-May, the software procurement procedure was completed and in mid-June, software development work will be launched, with the first version being tested one month after the contract was signed. The software will be tested in action and tailored to the needs of users.

In parallel, work is underway on the development of documentation for the procurement of the ToD passenger service and application is planned to be announced in the beginning of June.

Meanwhile, the Mobility Center Coordinator has already started the work. The coordinator is closely related to the ToD pilots and will be responsible for communicating with the citizens and working with the software, registering users, creating routes, and contacting the driver about the booked trips. The special telephone line has been created and people from pilots’ areas as well as other who may have any questions about the planned service can call already to find everything they would like to know already in advance. Some of locals have expressed the interest and registered themselves as the service users to be ready for their first “transport on demand” trip as soon as possible.

For more information, please contact Ms Līga Puriņa-Purīte ([email protected]), manager of MAMBA project in Vidzeme Planning Region (Latvia)

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