DRT taxis replace buses in the County of Plön
Every month, since March 2018, more than 400 people call a phone number, order a taxi and then wait for their ride at the closest bus stop. This system, called “ALFA” was implemented by the county of Plön, in Germany, around the small town Lütjenburg, in the north-eastern part of the county.
The idea behind this initiative, part of MAMBA project, was to offer more and better connections from small villages to the nearby town (Lütjenburg). The aim was to improve the existing public transport, primarily focused on student transportation and without many connections, or any at all, in the evening or on weekends.
The demand responsive transport (DRT) service was planned by the local bus company but is operated by taxis, that should be ordered at least 60 minutes in advance of the trip. The initiative uses only existing bus stops, and a timetable specifies the exact departure times. That makes the use of the system simple and transparent. If no booking occurs, the taxis will remain in the garage. The price for a trip is the same as for buses, although taxis are used. The driver can sell different types of tickets – group, weekly and monthly.
The fact that there are more than 400 passengers every month who use this offer is quite outstanding when compared to an average usage rate in Germany. “ALFA” proved to be a success story, attracting different target groups – elderly people, students and tourists who spend their holidays on the Baltic Sea. And it has grown into a second mobility initiative started in November 2019.