Wednesday, 03 March 2021 12:26

Ventura launches Melbourne demand-responsive transport service


Victorian bus provider Ventura has launched a new Demand Responsive Transport service and corresponding urban mobility app available to residents in the outer Melbourne subsurbs of Rowville and Ferntree Gully.

Under the new service locals from the eastern suburbs are able to use the FlexiRide app, available for free on iOS and Android, to plan their journeys and book Demand Responsive Transport rides to and from Ferntree Gully Station and Stud Park Shopping Centre.

Ventura says the offering has been created in partnership with the Department of Transport Victoria and Moovit, an Intel company, and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions provider and creator of the #1 urban mobility app. 

This is Ventura’s first Demand Responsive Transport service since its founding in 1924, and also the first transport service of its kind in metropolitan Melbourne.

Ventura currently operates Telebus, a phone-based request and dispatch system that relies on physical bus stops to pick up and drop off passengers and can result in relatively long wait times. As a way to modernise the service and shorten wait times, Ventura has replaced Telebus routes 7,8, and 9 with FlexiRide’s Demand-Responsive Transport service, bringing “more convenient and efficient mobility” to people traveling to one of two major hubs: Ferntree Gully Station and Stud Park Shopping Centre. 

The FlexiRide app is powered by Moovit’s White Label App solution, and FlexiRide’s Demand Responsive Transport service is powered by Moovit On-Demand solution, a dynamically-routed transport system that automatically assigns multiple passengers heading in the same direction to a shared vehicle. 

The FlexiRide app: 

  • Suggests the most efficient routes: Once a user launches the FlexiRide app and inputs their destination, FlexiRide will display the most convenient routes
  • Enables users to book FlexiRide: Users can select Transit On-Demand to book FlexiRide and travel from any virtual stop to one of two major hubs: Ferntree Gully Station or Stud Park Shopping Centre. Rides can also be booked in the opposite direction and travel from one of the two hubs back to any virtual stop within the zone
  • Directs passengers to a nearby pickup location: Once the ride is booked, riders receive guidance to a virtual bus stop within a short walking distance
  • Provides riders with real-time shuttle tracking:

               - While waiting for their ride, users can track the approaching vehicle in real-time and view its ETA

               - While riding, users can view the route on the map, as well as the estimated time to drop off

  • Enables future ride booking: Rides can be booked up to a week in advance

To pay for their ride, passengers can tap on with their Myki as they board the vehicle, just as they would do with any other service.

In addition to booking Demand Responsive rides, the FlexiRide app, powered by Moovit, combines official information from local transport agencies in Melbourne and the surrounding area as well as crowdsourced information to calculate the best route for each journey with urban mobility options like the bus, train, and tram.

FlexiRide also provides real-time arrival information so users know exactly when their bus or train is arriving, a Live Directions feature with Get Off Alerts to provide step-by-step guidance for the entire journey, and Service Alerts so they can avoid disruptions and plan their journey accordingly. 

FlexiRide also incorporates accessibility features, which Ventura says empowers people with disabilities to use public transportation with more assurance. The app is optimised with screen reading features for low vision users, including TalkBack/VoiceOver capabilities, identifies wheelchair-accessible routes and stations, and calculates step-free routes.

FlexiRide’s app is also designed with optimised menus and buttons for those with hand-motor disabilities.

“Ventura has been searching for the right technology partners over the last three years and after investigating trials in other cities, we were comfortable with Moovit’s global reach and willingness to understand and cater for our passenger’s needs”, said Andrew Cornwall, Managing Director at Ventura.

“We are excited to partner with Ventura and Department of Transport Victoria to power the FlexiRide app and new service to provide Rowville and Ferntree Gully residents shorter wait times and a much smoother journey to the busiest transport hubs” said Yovav Meydad, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer at Moovit.

“Complementary to traditional modes of transport, FlexiRide can help residents get around efficiently and conveniently without the need for a private vehicle.”

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