Public transport services are patchy, especially in low-demand areas and times. This is due to the fact that a viable operation of local public transport is only possible once a certain level of demand has been reached. But declining passenger numbers and fare revenues have led to a reduction in publicly accessible mobility services. In order to reduce the costs of providing public transport for public authorities and transport companies while establishing helpful mobility services, flexible forms of public transport service have been developed since the 1980s and implemented in areas with low demand (e.g., shared cabs replacing buses at nighttime). Today, digitalisation enables new forms of collective transport, called on-demand ridepooling, which combines even more spatial flexibility with trip bundling via algorithms.
The aim of this study was to analyze the opportunities and limitations of on-demand services and assess their suitability for different areas of application, particularly in areas and at times of low demand. The challenges of operating such systems were also investigated. For this purpose, a survey of all on-demand ridepooling services in Germany as well as in-depth interviews were conducted, an analysis assessed different types of systems. Recommendations for action for the introduction of on-demand ridepooling services were derived from the results.