Central Taiwan to launch Metropia’s Transit Hailing platform to ease tourism congestion
A Look at Taiwan's unique Demand Responsive Transit Service
Nestled deep within the mountains of Central Taiwan, Qingjing is one of nation’s most popular and most congested tourist attractions. Fifty years ago, the quiet region was focused on farming and raising livestock, but its magnificent mountain scenery and natural wonders have steadily drawn more and more tourists, with over five million people now visiting the area annually. The majority of visitors stay for more than one day, most over the weekend. To accommodate these tourists, more than 200 hostels have been erected along a 10-mile stretch of highway.
While international tourists travel to the region using public transportation, the limited services leave most domestic visitors driving their own vehicles. Limited parking options and the incredible number of small, routine trips to and from hostels, restaurants, and local attractions add up to a nightmare for locals and visitors alike and exacerbate traffic congestion on the already busy mountain rural highway.
After years of discussions and market research, the community concluded that the best solution to reduce internal traffic is to provide a demand responsive transit (DRTS) shuttle service. It is envisioned that even those who drive into the area would leave their vehicles at the hostel parking lot and use the shuttle service for all local tips. The service design must accommodate multiple pick-ups/drop-offs during the entire shuttle bus tour and account for fluctuations in weekly and seasonal demand (international tourists' arrive throughout the week while locals typically visit over the weekend) to minimize operating costs and maximize user experiences.
To bring this plan to reality, the Qingjing Association of Sustainable Developments and local transportation operators approached Metropia for a turnkey solution encompassing tourist reservations and ticketing, driver and vehicle scheduling, dispatching and routing, as well as customer support and a central dispatch and management console.
Two distinct types of services were being contemplated, so the team conducted user research to understand the market acceptance of these options:
Point-to-point (P2P) transport: this type of service is optimized for advanced reservations and leaves little room for real-time rescheduling without impacting previously planned schedules.
Fix-route variable schedule tour buses: this type of service takes longer for tourists to arrive at their intended destination but creates more opportunities for them to pass by various attractions. This approach also makes it easier to accommodate real-time incoming requests.
The user research found out that about 2/3 of tourists prefer P2P transport primarily because the reduced travel times would allow them to pack in more attractions during a typical two-day-one-night stay.
Backed by Metropia’s unique Transit Hailing platform, Qingjing’s innovative P2P DRTS service will launch in February 2022, ushering in a new approach to an age-old problem. We will provide more updates after the service is launched.