On-demand public transport – cities of the future

On-demand public transport is transforming the way we travel. In fact, the on-demand app economy is changing and turning the world upside down!

In 2021, we discussed the rise of apps on demandand post covid we continue to see more and more industries succeeding in this space including real estate, staffing and healthcare.

In this article, however, we focus on on-demand public transport.

Transportation is fundamental to our society and the country’s economy. By creating an efficient and fully functioning transportation system, a city can improve access to employment, reduce traffic congestion, and facilitate broader business opportunities between consumers and suppliers.

COVID-19 has presented many challenges and opportunities over the past two years and travel is certainly one of them. Urban mobility trends have changed dramatically due to continued social distancing and working from home and studies suggest that people are not only choosing to travel outside of standard peak hours to avoid large crowds, but are actually changing completely their methods of transportation.

There is now a real shift in the way people choose to travel and get around in cities and during the first wave of COVID, Melbourne has seen a reduction of more than 70% in public transport use on all models.

This, coupled with regional internal migration and exodus from major capitals, has provided an opportunity for emerging technologies and emerging transportation in the form of carpooling, shared mobility, and autonomous vehicles.

Unsurprisingly, the king of ridesharing – Uber, has already expanded, offering Uber Transit and Uber Freight, providing on-demand options in public transport and logistics.

How on-demand public transport works

On-demand public transport allows passengers to book their journeys at a time that suits them via an application to be picked up at an agreed location. Also known as DRT (on-demand transport), it solves first and last mile connectivity issues that are a significant problem in urban mobility.

First and last mile connectivity issues relate to the distance a commuter must travel from a transit stop to their final destination or vice versa. This can particularly affect people with mobility needs and those who live in sparsely populated areas, where public transport options are few and far between.

On-demand public transport eliminates this problem by bringing travelers closer to their required destination at a time pre-scheduled by them.

Many countries have had success with on-demand public transport and now Australia is following suit, adopting new and innovative solutions.

Helsinki originally had success with an on-demand bus service, Kutsuplus ‘mobility on demand’ in 2013, This service brought together people traveling in the same direction on a minibus, this service was more efficient than traditional buses and cheaper than a taxi.

Unfortunately, the service was only available for three years and the company’s final reports concluded that yes, the pilot project had been a success, but “unfortunately the municipalities did not provide the funding for the proposed capacity increase in the difficult economic situation”.

There are now hundreds of on-demand public transport services around the world:

  • MOIA is an initiative between the City of Hamburg and Volkswagen and currently operates in Hamburg, offering the possibility of sharing a ride with up to five people who wish to travel in the same direction.
  • Ubigo operates in Stockholm and combines public transport, carpooling, car rental services and taxi in one app. For payment, the traveler can choose a mobility subscription.
  • Bus DiDi hopes to help improve the percentage of people who choose to take public transport in cities by making bus routes and shuttles available on demand.

Closer to home in Australia, the success of pond services in New South Wales has demonstrated that on-demand public transport can bring economic benefits, including reduced emissions and socio-economic benefits within the community with the following statistics:

  • 55% of passengers previously made the same journey by private car. Half of these passengers were motorists driving and parking at or near the station.
  • 13% of individuals say in a recent survey that they would not have made the trip if they had not access to the OnDemand service

By 2050, Queensland’s population is expected to reach 8 million, placing significant constraint on our transport system. City leaders must therefore act now to prepare for the years to come to ensure their cities are able to continue to operate effectively.

On the Gold Coast, Translink on demand is currently being piloted and is now the city’s newest mode of public transportation. Operating seven days a week in Nerang, Highland Park and Pacific Pines, the two-year trial aims to improve public transport in areas of the northern Gold Coast where regular services are not as readily available.

In addition to this, the City of Gold Coast and RACQ are testing driverless bus for a 12-month period in Main Beach to improve connectivity to transit stops.

Public transport on demand

The benefits of on-demand public transport

On-demand public transport has many benefits within the community, besides reducing the number of cars on the road, cities can operate more efficiently, making them more attractive to tourists and more “liveable”.


On-demand transit eliminates the fixed-route, fixed-schedule model and gives people more freedom to travel at times that suit them, which is a benefit for those who don’t have a driver’s license. or regular access to a car.


On-demand public transport provides a connection between small towns and large metropolitan areas, creating better access to jobs, education and opportunity, especially in less densely populated areas where public transport is not as easily accessible.


As mentioned earlier, the benefit of on-demand public transport is the reduction of carbon emissions and air pollution caused by single-passenger vehicles, buses and trains that have low capacity. On-demand public transport is a much more sustainable alternative.


Safety is a huge plus when it comes to this type of transport. Not only does it accommodate the most vulnerable members of the community, including the elderly and people with disabilities, but eliminates the “stranger danger” felt by parents of young teenagers and women traveling alone late at night.

Transporting cities to the future

As more and more cities around the world are adopting the latest technologies and new solutions in response to urban mobility issues. On-demand transportation, whether public or private, will be the future of public transportation.

According to research, the on-demand transport market will reach $340 billion by 2030. It is a market that also includes on-demand logistics, freight and fuel delivery.

While on-demand public transport options are currently managed by the government, we are seeing a trend towards partnerships with key players in these industries and other initiatives being outsourced to private operators.

As technology advances, the transport industry transforms, 6.64 billion people have access to smartphones and thus the gap between consumer and transport is narrowing considerably.

Transportation decisions made by municipal leaders today will affect economic prosperity, quality of life and tourism in the future.

Final Thoughts

The evolution of transportation dates back to the horse and cart, the invention of the wheel, and even the chasqui riders of the Inca Empire. As a company, we have continued to invent, evolve and adapt.

We are currently in an era where technology is having a huge impact on our daily lives, now including the way we travel and navigate our cities. If we as citizens and leaders accept change, think of where we will be in 100 years!

This article is reproduced from Media Shark, Gold Coast App Developers.


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