Like Victor Kiam and the shaver company, Aussie bus operator, Transit Systems liked the US on demand bus operation Bridj so much it decided to buy it.
Bridj originally was a US based company that ran operations in Boston and Washington D.C amongst other cities, but that came to an abrupt halt earlier this year when it shuit down all of its US operations and the company was transplanted down under by Transit Systems.
Transit Systems announced that it would re launch and Bridj with its Demand Responsive bus services in Western Sydney starting late November as part of a system that could truly shake up the Australian public transport space.
Bridj was a global leader in developing Demand Responsive Technology for ‘mass’ transportation before it shut down Stateside and Transit brought it down under.
Bridj General Manager John Langford-Ely told Truck e-News at the operations Sydney launch that the system leverages its big data analytics software to better understand how passengers want and need to move in their area.
“The Bridj proprietary algorithms and real time data optimise service delivery through dynamic routing, stopping and passenger clustering,” said Langford-Ely.
The result according to Bridj is more flexible bus services that are more relevant, dynamic and direct than traditional public transport.
You can watch Truck and Bus TV’s short explanation video in which Langford- Ely tells us all about it. You can watch the video here.https://youtu.be/V0k5EwFTBes
Transit Systems CEO Clint Feuerherdt is the man who had the Victor Kiam moment and decided to buy Bridj after visiting the company earlier this year.
“We had an off-site ‘think-tank’ to look at issues that could be challenges for us and one of our guys delivered a paper about on demand bus services and the last mile operations, particularly citing Bridj,” said Feuerherdt.
“I was impressed with the technology which had already proved to be popular with passengers in the USA with services in Boston, Washington and Kansas showing reduced travel times relative to other public transit alternatives,” he added.
“Bridj delivers Demand Responsive services by analysing the city’s travel demand and putting on services that match that demand.
“The technology groups nearby passengers with similar travel requirements and provides walking directions to their closest pick up location. The technology then dynamically routes based on real time traffic conditions and only stops where on-board passengers need to, significantly reducing travel time,” he added.
Just like Uber, once the app has been downloaded by potential users, they can simply book a bus trip with a dedicated seat, and the small bus with between 12 and 20 seats will come to within no more than five minutes walk from the users location. Bridj will initially use Iveco Daily buses but other brands could be used in the future.
“The app allows them to track the vehicle’s arrival at the pick up location and onward to the destination in real time, while behind this Bridj technology is optimising the route and drop off location to minimise each customer’s walking distance and total travel time,” said Langford-Ely.
“The bottom line is Bridj will potentially remove large empty buses from our smaller suburban back streets, instead replacing them with what Langford-Ely calls ‘right-sized’ services that enhance value for money while delivering better travel outcomes for everyone in the catchment,” he said.
Langford-Ely adds that Bridj will turn buses from a static experience, to an intuitive ride.
“With increasing populations and city congestion, better mobility through optimised public transport is critical in achieving economic growth, social equality and opportunity.
“Bridj is scalable, portable and self-improving. It is both predictive and responsive.
“The Bridj system can support both private enterprise and public transit authorities. For example, by providing data driven evidence that supports network planning decisions or by delivering feeder services that connect passengers onto high capacity bus, rail or light rail corridors.”
“Given the technology is portable across different operating models and different cities, it can create better services anywhere that customers need them,” he said.
The Bridj technology will be trialled in Western Sydney by the end of November, operating around the Wetherill Park precinct as part of Transport for NSW, on demand bus/last mile progam announced earlier this year.
While the Bridj system will be used, by its owner Transit Systems in collaboration with its ‘big’ bus operations in Wetherill Park, Feuerherdt was very open and keen for the system to be offered and used by other operators on a commercial basis.
“Sydney will be Australia’s first capital city to access the technology, but we will make Bridj available nationally and to other companies because we believe it is the best system going around,” said Feuerherdt.