Dial a Ride Done Right

Just in case you are not sure what dial a ride is, it is generally a door-to-door transport service for people with a permanent or long term disability or health problem who are unable, or virtually unable to use public transport.  It is a service that literally enables people to remain active within their society and local community.  With the advent of technology, this is now becoming also known as demand responsive transport, in that it reacts to the passenger needs at a time and place which suits them.

It’s interesting, because Dial a Ride was what drove us to develop Road XS to be the best, despite initially being only for community car schemes back in 2016.  After watching local busses and minibuses travel around with only ever one passenger on them, we decided to do something about it and it’s been this drive that has taken Road XS to where it is today.  You might be thinking well what’s so difficult about Dial a Ride?  People get on, people get off.  That they do.  The problem however is when you start looking at the costs of running such services.

Picture in your mind the letter Z and the letter O, or a zig-zag and a circle.  Most dial a ride services operate from the Z or zig-zag model.  We wanted to change this to the circle model and this is what we recently achieved on Road XS.

To put this another way.  If you pick up one passenger and then take them to their destination and then go on to pickup another passenger you are zig zagging from place to place.  The problem with the zig-zag model is:

  • increased fuel consumption
  • decreased efficiency
  • increased operational cost
  • reduced pickup times
  • reduced service capacity

And that’s just to name a few.  The circular model however provides a streamlined platform with optimised pickups and route management.  This means you pickup the passengers in the right order to maximise the service you provide.  Believe me, developing this in Road XS was not easy but the best part is, it’s so easy to use (which is why it was so difficult).  There were so many technological limitations and so many variables that at one point we didn’t think it would be possible.  We also didn’t want to remove the control the operator has or their local knowledge when planning routes either.

Within Road XS we now provide an optimised platform which works from the circular model, not the zig-zag model which most platforms operate from.  This means as an operator you save time when it comes to route planning and can scale up in a manner not known before.  We’ve developed a different way of looking at Dial a Ride which hopefully takes the ‘messiness’ out of it all.  The good news as well, is you would see a greater improvement on your journey times and pickup windows too.

This opens up new windows for users of Road XS.  It means you can optimise your patient transport services with optimised patient transport software, you can extend your community car schemes into a more demand responsive model picking up more passengers from one vehicle at the right time and you can optimise your driver and resource usage to get more from them with less effort.

GPS tracking was also recently released into beta (real-world test mode) on Road XS utilising existing mobile and tablet technologies so that you don’t need to pay for third party tracking software each month to know where your vehicles are.  It also includes an interactive run sheet which updates when the journey updates either in flow or from the main admin team.

We’re really excited with the direction our latest update has enabled us to head and over the next few months will be opening up Road XS into a car share model to reduce local traffic, pollution and to increase local travel times.

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