RideCo Improves Mobility in an Industrial Area with On-Demand Shuttles, in Partnership with a Government Agency

RideCo
January 2, 2019
 - 
5 minute read

Companies situated outside the city center or away from dense commercial districts are often underserved by public transit. This is especially true in manufacturing and industrial employment hubs with a large geographic footprint. These employment hubs face hurdles in getting their employees to and from work. Their employees taking public transit typically make multiple transfers between buses, subways, and by foot, adding stress and time to their commute.

This case study highlights how RideCo worked with its fleet partner and a public sector agency to launch a new, affordable, on-demand shuttle solution for employees and visitors in a large industrial area where fixed route shuttles were not meeting the needs of the employers, staff, and visitors because of its poor territory coverage and low frequency. The dynamic on-demand shuttle service reduced commuting time, improved employee satisfaction, and productivity for workers and visitors at the various employers in the industrial zone.

Here’s How it Works

  • 90+ designated pickup/drop off stops (‘virtual stops’) were configured, providing coverage across the entire industrial zone of 12 square miles (42 square kilometers), so that riders were always within a 10-minute walk of a virtual stop. Furthermore, virtual stops were created at a metro transit station situated 20 minutes from the industrial zone. This configuration allowed movement between stops in the industrial zone, as well as connectivity between the zone and a nearby metro transit hub.
  • Employees and visitors to the industrial park use a mobile app to book a ride that is pre-scheduled or on-demand between locations within the industrial zone or to/from the metro station.

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Virtual stops on Jurong Island

  • Riders are transported in 13-seater shuttles that pick them up at one of 90 pickup/drop off stops. No transfers are required.
  • Shuttles are dynamically routed, responsive to actual trip bookings, which ensures superior vehicle utilization while simultaneously increasing territory coverage and service frequency.
  • Riders can pay with cash or credit card, ensuring accessibility to those who do not have access to credit cards.
  • Organizations experience higher employee satisfaction and productivity. The service improves accessibility for visitors to the industrial zone.

The video below demonstrates the service model, using anonymized locations.


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Background and Challenge

Jurong Island is an industrial zone off the coast of mainland Singapore. It is home to dozens of businesses mostly in the petrochemical space, such as BP and ExxonMobil. Traditional public transit does not operate in the zone. This makes job access difficult, particularly for blue-collar workers who may not have personal cars.

Jurong Town Corporation (JTC), a public agency that manages the industrial zone, approached RideCo’s client Grab about a dynamic-route shuttle service that could improve mobility for employees and visitors moving within the zone, and moving to and from the nearest public transit nodes: the mainland checkpoint (bus) and the Boon Lay MRT Station (rail). The desire was to use two 13- or 23-seater shuttles or buses.

In preparation for this service, Grab and RideCo worked closely to design the service parameters with feedback and guidance from JTC (public agency). It was important to tailor the service to the unique needs of the employees and visitors on the island. Through continuous iteration, a successful model was deployed. Periodic iterations are ongoing, as the service continues to grow and evolve.

The service would need to:

  • Cover the entire geographic territory of the zone, such that there are pickup/drop off points within a 10-minute walk from any company situated in the zone
  • Be time-constrained; in other words, trips must not take substantially longer than a direct car ride
  • Be able to accept cash payments
  • Have custom pricing for different pickup/drop off locations

Service Model

The shuttle service runs daily, operating between 9:30 am and 10:30 pm with a two-hour hiatus at 4:30 pm. Approximately 90 building entrances are served, with travel allowed both intra-zone and to the two key bus and rail transit hubs. A maximum waiting time of 45 minutes is set, and trips take no longer than 20 minutes longer than a direct car ride. A typical direct car ride takes 25 minutes.

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With over 90 stops serviced by RideCo, every worker has access to reliable transit

The Metro station lies well outside the zone’s boundaries. To avoid both shuttles being sent there in short succession, RideCo’s technology groups trips together both when booking a ride and when servicing a ride to ensure that one vehicle serves as many passengers leaving the zone as possible. This keeps a vehicle available to serve new bookings in a timely fashion.

Per the public agency’s request, RideCo’s dynamic shuttle system ensures that:

  • Trips take no longer than 20 mins longer than a direct car ride. A typical direct car ride takes 25 minutes, and RideCo’s technology ensures that no ride takes longer than 45 minutes.
  • Cash payments are accepted, ensuring that employees without credit cards can use this service.

Results

The program was launched in April 2018.

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The user-friendly mobile app enables selection of pickup and drop off locations on-demand or up to 4 days in advance

  • The industrial zone is now more accessible, with over 90 stops, and shuttles available on demand. This improves mobility, territory coverage, wait times, and ridership, while simultaneously increasing vehicle utilization and operational sustainability.
  • Employees are now able to reduce their commute time everyday from using our shuttle instead of alternative solutions. This has increased their quality of life.
  • 80% of rides are shared, with the majority of shared trips containing 3+ passengers. This enhances the financial performance of the shuttle operation for the agency and operator.
  • The shuttle has a 90%+ on-time record. The employer now has greater predictability of their employee’s arrival and departure times, increasing organizational productivity.

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Industrial zone with RideCo and Grab shuttle services

Key Takeaways

RideCo works with companies and organizations to provide cost-effective commuter solutions for their employees in industrial, low-density areas that are underserved by transit, increasing employee retention, satisfaction, and productivity.

Title image by Jacklee. - Own work., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21889773

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