Book rides and be picked up: The on-demand service "Flex" is a pilot project of MVV and has so far been running in the south of the district of Munich. © Volker Camehn
The on-demand service with the Flex Bus has been so well received that the district of Munich and MVV now want to further develop the pilot project.
District – Book rides and be picked up: The on-demand service "Flex" is a pilot project of MVV and has so far been running in the south of the district of Munich. The pilot project is funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Housing, Construction and Transport and operated by the company Geldhauser.
The minibuses have been on the road for seven months, and although the pilot project will run for at least another 1.5 years, one thing is already certain: the offer is very well received. Stefanie Hellenberg, deputy head of department at the Munich District Office, presented the on-demand bus service at the municipal climate conference in Taufkirchen. The service has been running since October 2022 and has already been booked 31,2023 times as of May 16, 600. "The on-demand service is a successful pilot project," says Hellenberg, while at the same time MVV and the district of Munich are working to optimise the service.
Seven vehicles in six municipalities
"On demand" means "on request" and refers to on-demand transport: The Flexbus only stops at stations if it has been booked via the website, the telephone on the hotline 089/ 41 42 43 44 or the MVV app. In the app, the user can even track the location of the vehicle via a live map. Since the service is part of the public transport area, the MVV ticket is valid. Passengers do not have to buy an additional ticket. For example, the tour from Brunnthal to the S-Bahn to Sauerlach costs two strips or 3.70 euros for a single ticket.
The district of Munich has initiated the pilot project for an initial period of two years, "it should run for a maximum of four years," says Hellenberg. There are seven vehicles in the six pilot municipalities, two vehicles are barrier-free, so they are also suitable for wheelchair users. Child seats are also available, and strollers are also taken along, all of which passengers must indicate in advance when booking. Children up to the age of six travel free of charge, and young people can also book rides.
Day operation and night operation are tested
In the pilot project, two test operations are being investigated: The daytime operation from 5 a.m. to 22 p.m. runs in Aying, Brunnthal and Sauerlach and ties in with local rail transport. "This means that the flex bus takes the passenger to the S-Bahn instead of replacing it," explains Hellenberg.
Night traffic covers Taufkirchen, Oberhaching and Unterhaching, and drivers are on the road from 22 p.m. to 6 a.m. The drivers pick up night owls at the U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains in Neuperlach Süd and Ostbahnhof or take them there.
Denser network with even more stops
The on-demand service is also popular among the bus drivers of the company Geldhauser Kleinbusservice GmbH & Co. KG. "Many want to take on shifts in the service department," reports Hellenberg, so there is never a shortage of staff.
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"Our goal is a dense exit network with even more stops," Hellenberg announces. There are currently about 250 stops in the operating area. The algorithm for the app is also being further developed: Trip requests with a similar course are to be merged, explains Hellenberg: "We call this pooling." At present, people are often driven individually, but in the future several trips will be put together as a tour.