MELINDA

Mobility Ecosystem for Low-carbon and INnovative moDal shift in the Alps

MELINDA’s MOBILITY PILOT STORIES

We continue with our PILOT PROJECT STORIES.

Our next story is about Taxito ridesharing in rural Switzerland.

Pilot project »Taxito ridesharing in rural Switzerland « is offering local population groups in several rural villages such as Maladers (Chur), Seetal (Lucerne/Aargau), Luthern, Willisau, etc. (Lucerne) ridesharing services. These villages have poor public services. The goal of this pilot project is to solve the first/last mile problem. That means it provides a mobility service for local populations who have no access to private cars or no driving license or have a physical problem for driving a car. 

Taxito ridesharing functions as follows: the passenger walks to the closest Taxito notice board and sends the Taxito platform a SMS with the destination s/he wants to travel to. The Taxito notice board then shows this destination. Drivers see it and spontaneously decide to pick up the passenger. The passenger sends the Taxito platform the plate number. This is to increase passenger’s security. No registration is required. The passenger has to pay a flat ticket (e.g. CHF 3 per ride) charged directly from their mobile phone credit. Drivers are volunteer. The key concept of the Taxito ridesharing programme is community-oriented ridesharing. It aims not to replace (or compete with) public transport transit but rather to complement this mode of transport.

Excerpts from interviews document experiences of local people who used Taxito ridesharing as passengers and drivers. The interviews cover a broader topic than the questions posted below. The interviews were conducted by Jason Traxel and Nicole Lehmann who are pursuing a Bachelor Program in International Business Administration at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.


Interview with a driver – a 69 year old man, November 2020

1. Why did you engage in Taxito ridesharing service as a driver?
I was involved in Taxito ridesharing from the beginning… I registered myself as a driver for Taxito at an information event organized in our village because I think Taxito is good for our community…and because we do not have frequent public transport services. In addition, because I was myself travelling a lot; and I thought, I could contribute to this ridesharing service in which I give people a ride… That was my hope. 

2. And what were your experiences as a driver for Taxito Ridesharing?
I have in fact no experiences with Taxito because I haven’t seen somebody who has waited for Taxito. But I once gave a ride to someone who has waited for a bus and asked me when the bus departures… I have told this person that she can use the Taxito ridesharing service…

3. Would you use Taxito if you do not or no longer have your car?
Yes, because otherwise I have no other choices … no relative who could offer me a ride to travel outside of our village to visit a doctor or do shopping.


Interview with a driver – a 43 year old man, November 2020

1. Why did you engage in Taxito ridesharing services as a driver?
I first heard about Taxito at our municipality meeting and from a brochure that I received together with an invitation to the meeting. My opinion is that it [Taxito] is a good thing. Because we have a bad Postauto [bus] service that runs only six or seven times a day; with Taxito you do not have to wait two hours for the Postauto …or in the evening, after 7 pm, when the Postauto does not run anymore, you can still have a chance to go to the train station or go out of the valley. 

2. And what were your experiences as a driver for Taxito Ridesharing?
I have already two times gave a ride to Taxito passengers. The first time was very interesting. He [an acquaintance] wanted to test the system [Taxito Ridesharing Service]… He has pressed [a button] and as I had to go to Ettiswill and saw him…so I stopped and gave him a ride. … I have already recognized him as he got into my car. He told me that he knew about Taxito during his study and he has wondered how long he must wait until somebody who drives to the same destination picks him up. He had to wait only 30 seconds until I stopped my car and picked him up.

The second time was a wanderer who wanted to go to the train station. I did not know this person. He had to wait for about four to five minutes.

I think Taxito is good because one can track back to the mobile phone number, in case something happens. With hitchhikes, one has no chance [to do so]. Therefore, I think Taxito is safer…I will continue to engage in Taxito as a driver. Because it is good for my village.

3. Did you learn anything new when engaging in Taxito as a driver, like social aspects?
Certainly, it isn’t bad, especially for somebody like me who likes to talk and seeks for conversations. Then comes new things and maybe one can learn something new. I think you get much more into the conversation with Taxito than when you drive with public transport through the village.

4. Have you used Taxito as a passenger?
No, I have to take my car. I have to travel back and forth between my house and my workplace. I do not think about this at all. I just seat in my car and drive.

5. If you didn’t have a car, would you use Taxito as a passenger?
Yes, I would use it for a doctor’s visit in a neighboring village.

6. What would you recommend for improving Taxito ridesharing service?
In a long-run, I would say that to use the service, people must first know about it. Therefore, one has to do a bit better to raise awareness so that people know how it works… people must know that it is a safe thing. And when they have tried it, have experiences with it, then it will work better.

 

Interview with a passenger – a 45 year old woman, November 2020

1. Why did you use Taxito ridesharing service?
I think it [Taxito] is a cool thing to our village that has a very bad public transport… The reason why I first used Taxito because I was curious and wanted to know its techniques and how long do I have to wait until a driver picks me up … I had no technical problem to use it and waited for 15 minutes until a driver picked me up… Overall, I had a positive experience with Taxito.

I think ridesharing services are good for the environment because you drive your car anyway and if you can transport somebody on your way, then it is better. 

2. Please tell us more about your experience with Taxito ridesharing?
I found out that Taxito ridesharing is suitable for trips that you do not have to be in time, like for leisure purposes. But if I need to go for work or have to be at a place at a fixed time like a doctor’s visit then I would not use Taxito.

Taxito ridesharing is more flexible and spontaneous than a Postauto [bus]. When you want to go to somewhere at 2 pm, you do not have to wait for a Postauto [bus] that only departures at 3 pm [fixed timetable], because it is likely that somebody will drive through and pick you up.

It was a pleasant atmosphere…I have the feeling that this is a chance to become more open to new things.

3. Have you changed your mobility behaviour since you have used Taxito ridesharing?
I still use my car for travelling [laugh]. However, I willing to engage in Taxito ridesharing as a driver. About one year ago, I saw a light on a Taxito notice board, I turned my car back to pick up a person waiting there. But the person said s/he did not press the button… The one who did this perhaps was transported by some driver. It’s pity. I would have like to give somebody a ride… I would do this again when there is a chance.


With the beginning of New Year, we are starting with presentations of our PILOT PROJECT STORIES.

Our first story is located in GREATER LYON, FRANCE.

Pilot project »Health as an incentive for raising awareness and motivation for active mobility« is supporting 50 volunteers who committed themselves to change their commuting behaviours, in order to increase their life quality by using active modes (walking and cycling). Selected participants are supported with meetings, 2 medical visits, follow-up questionnaires.

Interview with VOLUNTEER: Laurent Vignat from Lyon, November 2020

1.Why did you decide to participate in the pilot project? (Motives, values, needs…)
I decided to take part in the scheme to give myself more motivation to use my bike (I would like to do more than 80% of my journeys by bike, 4 or 5 days a week)
I wanted to take part in a study encouraging people to cycle on a daily basis.
At my age (55), one or two visits to a sports doctor is not negligible.

2.Did you learn anything new participating in the pilot project? (new data, new people, new network, about yourself)
Travelling by bike to work more often reduces my stress levels (I can't stand traffic jams), meaning I’m more relaxed when I get to the lab.
When travelling by bike, my journey always takes the same amount of time (unless I get a puncture)

3. Did your mobility habits change to more sustainable mobility choices due to participation in the pilot project?
Yes, I have increased my number of bike journeys.


Interview with VOLUNTEER: Michel Fourot, from Lyon, November 2020

1. Why did you decide to participate in the pilot project? (Motives, values, needs…)
Because of my health problems, I have to do moderate exercise, such as walking, roughly 1 hour a day, if possible continuously. 
This can be difficult when you have to work.
Signing up to a commitment like 1,000 Kilometres gives me more motivation to exercise every day for at least half an hour.

2. Did you learn anything new participating in the pilot project? (new data, new people, new network, about yourself)
Yes, signing up to a challenge, in front of other people, knowing that we have everything we need: the scheme - 1,000 Kilometres the period - 6 months - the equipment - Smart watch - the commitment - Every day - you need to have the desire and the commitment.
It takes a level of willingness to make changes to your habits, whether good or bad.        

3. Did your mobility habits changed to more sustainable mobility choices due to participation in the pilot project?
No, I haven't really changed my transport habits. They are a bit different in that I walk more. I follow the bus route, but instead of waiting at the next stop, I go to the next one and then the one after that, as a way of getting my steps in.
I wouldn't say I’m obsessed by the tracker or my score...but maybe a little bit!


Interview with VOLUNTEER: Valérie, Lyon, November 2020

1. Why did you decide to participate in the pilot project? (Motives, values, needs…)
I had been looking to change my commuting habits for a while, and so for me the pilot scheme was an opportunity to do this, with additional motivation to make this change plus a way of tracking the impact this change will have. Those were my reasons for deciding to sign up.

2. Did you learn anything new participating in the pilot project? (new data, new people, new network, about yourself)
That’s a tough one. But I would probably say yes. It’s taught me (or reaffirmed) that changing your transport habits has a lot to do with motivation and how much effort you're willing to put in.

3. Did your mobility habits changed to more sustainable mobility choices due to participation in the pilot project?
Yes, if my journey and the circumstances on a given day are compatible with travelling by bike, then I travel to work or to meetings by bike. Otherwise, I use a combination of scooter or walking + public transport. 


Interview with VOLUNTEER: Laurence L. from Lyon, November 2020

1. Why did you decide to participate in the pilot project? (Motives, values, needs…)
I pay attention to my health, my sleep, how I manage my stress and my wellbeing, which I believe is closely linked to daily physical exercise.     
Taking part in a group initiative and having a way of tracking yourself are excellent motivators.
The fact that my employer supports this initiative shows that they recognise the positive impact physical activity can have on wellbeing at work.

2. Did you learn anything new participating in the pilot project? (new data, new people, new network, about yourself)
I thought I had been doing more than 10,000 steps a day, but it’s not as easy as that!
I've spent a lot of time working from home in 2020, which has significantly reduced my activity. When I’m at work in person, I reach 7,000 steps no problem, but it’s only 3,000 when I’m working from home.

3. Did your mobility habits changed to more sustainable mobility choices due to participation in the pilot project?
Yes, I cycle a lot, not just for commuting, but also for work trips.
I make sure I go out for walks on the days when I’m working from home.
 

Interview with VOLUNTEER: Laurence M, Lyon 2020

1. Why did you decide to participate in the pilot project? (Motives, values, needs…)
There were two main reasons for me deciding to participate in the scheme:

1 - To become less sedentary
I realised just how sedentary I had become, not only in terms of getting about (metro + bus) or at work (spending 10 hours at my computer every day), but also the rest of the time, as I had stopped doing any sport. The older you get, it has been accepted that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health. That’s why I took the opportunity to try out a change of mode of transport so I could walk at the start and at the end of my working day. Everything is overseen by the sport and health department at Croix Rousse hospital, both before and after the scheme.

2 - to play my part in helping to improve the environmental situation in Lyon (pollution, climate change, etc.)      
Although I used to travel by public transport as opposed to taking my own car, walking is a carbon-neutral activity.


2.  Did you learn anything new participating in the pilot project? (new data, new people, new network, about yourself)
I discovered that walking more than 4 km to work and the same coming back was doable in 50 minutes.
I realised how beautiful a city Lyon is and how nice it is to walk around in, especially in nice weather.
I also discovered that walking up to Croix-Rousse hospital in the evenings was too hard for me.


3.  Did your mobility habits changed to more sustainable mobility choices due to participation in the pilot project?
Yes, I think I will do more of my journeys on foot. But the health crisis had a big impact on the scheme.
Positives: People were advised not to take public transport in 2020, which promoted individual options.
Negatives: Lockdown and working from home made it difficult to establish a routine in terms of new ways of getting about.
With winter on the way, it’s possible that people will be less keen on getting about outdoors.


Interview with VOLUNTEER: Annie C. from Lyon, November 2020

Why did you decide to participate in the pilot project? (Motives, values, needs…)
I signed up to this scheme because I had been trying to motivate myself to combine public transport and walking for my commute to work. The 1,000 Kilometres scheme seemed to be in keeping with that, and so I thought, why not?

Did you learn anything new participating in the pilot project? (new data, new people, new network, about yourself)
It requires a degree of persistence, and it’s easy to get caught up in the game of wanting to walk and doing your steps. Personally, it’s tough for me to stay focused and to keep going, to persist even when it’s harder to motivate yourself, like now in November with the lockdown and winter on the way. I now manage to get in at least 6,000 steps every day, and sometimes a lot more! It’s really not a problem for me.

Did your mobility habits change to more sustainable mobility choices due to participation in the pilot project?
I would  really like to be able to combine public transport and walking for my commute to and from work. Unfortunately, even at rush hour, there are only 2 buses an hour, which isn’t enough, especially in the mornings. I live 7 km away from my work and the bus leaves an hour before I get there, so I only do it every now and then.

I do my walking every evening when I get back from work, at least half an hour or an hour. I go walking at the weekend and have stopped using my car for short journeys. I also go on short hikes. I want to be more active.


Interview with VOLUNTEER: Barka D-H from Lyon, November 2020

1.   Why did you decide to participate in the pilot project? (Motives, values, needs…)
I used to do quite a lot of sport before falling seriously ill. I underwent lengthy treatment for cancer and then I had to build myself back up again. That took 7 years, during which time I couldn’t properly do any sport without hurting myself. So when I heard about this scheme, it seemed to me like a good way of gently easing myself back into appropriate physical activity.

2.  Did you learn anything new participating in the pilot project? (new data, new people, new network, about yourself)
Not particularly, apart from the fact that this EU scheme exists and that it’s a good challenge. But the real benefit is that there’s more motivation when you're doing something together.

3.  Did your mobility habits changed to more sustainable mobility choices due to participation in the pilot project?
Yes, I pay more attention to how I get about, mostly for my health, but also for the environment.