'On-demand' transport trials set to start early next year

KEORIDE: Via says the service will be similar to the one already operating with Keolis Downer in Northern Beaches and Macquarie Park called Keoride. Photo: Supplied
KEORIDE: Via says the service will be similar to the one already operating with Keolis Downer in Northern Beaches and Macquarie Park called Keoride. Photo: Supplied

The Barossa and Mount Barker will be part of a six-month trial of on-demand buses - promising faster and more personalised public transport.

Similar to ride sharing passenger services, commuters will be able to download an app and request a vehicle 'on-demand' which will pick them up from their home or within a proposed distance of 60 -130 metres from their current location.

Both trials are proposed to commence early next year, run for six months and will together cost $1,700,909, provided by a state government scheme.

Keolis Downer, partnering with on both trials with Via, were awarded the grant to run these trials in Mount Barker and the Barossa.

Keolis Downer and Via operate similar services in the Northern Beaches and Macquarie Park called Keoride.

Additionally, Keolis Downer already has a presence in the Barossa through their ownership of the LinkSA service.

"We are proud to partner with the South Australian Government to launch services that will provide new mobility options for local communities in Mt Barker and the Barossa," commented David Franks, CEO Keolis Downer.

"By using a technology platform like Via, we are creating services that are more flexible and tailored to people's needs."

Via's promises on-demand ride-matching technology will provide a faster and more personalised service to local communities in Mt Barker and the Barossa.

Passengers will be able to book a ride using the Via-powered Keoride App or by phone call.

Mercedes Sprinter 12-seater vehicles will be utilised for the trial, with one vehicle in each location complying with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requirements.

Co-founder and CEO of Via Daniel Ramot said the trial is a great example of a city embracing the future of mobility.

"This new demand-responsive transport system shows how public transportation and technology can work together to make a city smarter," Mr Ramot said.

"We are thrilled to partner with Keolis Downer and the South Australian Government to bring Via's technology to Mt Barker and Barossa."

Transport Minister and Schubert MP Stephan Knoll said the government is continuing to look at "exciting and innovative" ways to drive public transport growth.

One of the buses for Keoride, operated by the grant recipients, that is already up and running in the Northern Beaches and Macquarie Park, NSW.

One of the buses for Keoride, operated by the grant recipients, that is already up and running in the Northern Beaches and Macquarie Park, NSW.

"We want to provide a better and more convenient service to encourage South Australians to leave the car at home and hop on a bus, train or tram," Mr Knoll said.

"We consistently receive feedback that South Australians want more frequent services which unfortunately cannot always be delivered due to limited resources.

"That's why we are exploring 'on-demand' bus services, so passengers don't have to wait for a bus service in these areas, they can call one when they need it.

"'On-demand' services will provide passengers with a faster and more personalised service.

"Passengers will be able to track where their bus is and order it to their location to save them waiting in the rain or heat.

"In its simplest terms, these 'on-demand' bus services will operate in a similar way to most ride sharing apps than millions of people use right across the country.

"If we can provide a better and more convenient service then more people will want to catch public transport - it's as simple as that.

"Unlike the former Labor administration, the Marshall Government is exploring new, exciting and innovative ideas to provide better public transport services for South Australians.

"Under Labor we know that overall public transport patronage declined and was actually higher around ten years ago than when they left Office.

"Our public transport reforms will look to turn this around, drive patronage and deliver better services."

To support these innovative trials, $1.7 million has been contributed from the South Australian Government's Future Mobility Lab (FML) Fund.