Given the good results of the on-demand bus experience in the Torre Baró neighborhood, the Barcelona City Council and TMB have analyzed the application of the model to low-demand lines, starting with the Bus del Barri.
Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), the public transport operator in Barcelona, is expanding the successful demand-responsive bus service tested in Torre Baró, known as El Meu Bus, to restructure low demand routes in the urban area. The goal is to renovate the service without altering the concepts of proximity and connectivity, as a gateway to the entire public transport network. The bus-on-demand service is an innovative solution for urban mobility, resulting from the Barcelona Neighborhood Plan, adapted to the mobility needs of people.
This transportation model uses algorithms designed in collaboration with the Knowledge and Technology Transfer Unit of the Centre de Recerca Matemàtica. The approach, based on a single simulation engine tailored for the city of Barcelona, consists of an implemented system model that accounts and parametrizes the complexity of the routes in the urban area.
The extension of the model can bring significant improvements in different aspects:
✓ A more personalized service, as the user asks when they want to travel and to where.
✓ Faster service, because there is no route, only stops that are travelled according to the requested routes.
✓ A more efficient service, because it is based on real needs and therefore the bus does not run when there is no demand.
✓ Less waiting time at the stops, as each applicant knows when the bus will be at the stop chosen and any incident is reported to registered users.
For this transformation, bus on-demand service areas will be created, combining several existing neighborhood bus lines, in which economies of scale allow resources to be pooled and offer a better service to the citizen, more direct and efficient, with no empty trips wasted. The objective of the new bus on-demand system is to help ensure the connection with public transport to those areas that, due to the orographic and urban characteristics, present access difficulties for public transport.
How does the bus on-demand work?
The bus-on-demand route is based on a smart system which matches the journey requests received in advance. Using this system, anybody can get between points in the area and connect to the rest of the public transport network using regular integrated fare tickets and travel cards. Users just need to sign up and follow the instructions.
Users must be registered and can request the time they require the service via the El Meu Bus app or by phone call. They must also indicate the number of passengers who will be using the service, up to a maximum of five people.
According to current planning, eight on-demand bus service areas will be created in different districts, three of which will be operational in the last quarter of 2021 (in parentheses current reference lines):
- Horta – Guinardó (135)
- Sarrià – Sant Gervasi (118 and 128)
- Ciutat Vella (120 and 121)
The roll out and implementation of the remaining areas will continue in 2022.