How can local public transport in rural areas be improved so that it is a real alternative to having your own car? Twelve municipalities coming together in Ile Kulturrum Empertal have long been in search of a solution. Omobi’s two founders, Clemens Deerling and Robert Schöten, presented a flexible local bus concept that apparently works well in Murnau at an online conference on Wednesday. The response was very positive. The mayor of Langenbach, Susan Hoyer, believes the future belongs to such systems. Probably soon in Ampartal too.
In Murnau, the local bus – two minibuses are in use – can be booked automatically by app or phone between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reservations are also possible up to 24 hours in advance. The bus has no fixed timetable, it is practically door-to-door, as it has over 200 stops. What’s special, according to Darling, is that the software calculates the most efficient route and mixes trips accordingly – better than any human planner.
The demand, Darling said, was “bombarded”. The local bus is “fully booked”. Parents took their children with it to football training, older people were given their mobility back, others used the offer mainly in winter. The founder of Omobi acknowledged that implementing such a concept in rural areas is a challenge. But it’s also more difficult to get there for public buses or mass-call taxis. In Murnau, two other municipalities have already been incorporated, with just 20 kilometers running there, and further expansion is planned in the district.
Susan Hoyer admitted after Omobi’s presentation, “I’m a little struck – but she was clearly impressed by his words. Previous offers in the Freezing District, such as on-call buses or mass call taxis, worked well.” In our fast-paced world, flexible connections are the future. Hoyer immediately asked if Omobi still had the potential to develop such a concept for parts of the Freezing District.
The mayor of Kirchdorf, Uwe Gerlsbeck, also expressed interest. The truth is, he said: MVV offers are not accepted in the way that they are replacements for the car. The will’s political declaration that one wants to change something had already happened with “Mia”, the mobility concept for the central Isar region and Empertal, which includes many different views. The paper is now ready, as Ile regional manager Nina Huber explained. Since the project is funded and hence there are certain rules to be followed, there is some delay in the start. The post of Mobility Manager is to be filled in the coming year. Hoyer urged not to wait any longer, saying “we should start in Ile and get the job done”.
Kranzburg Mayor Hermann Hammerl asked about the cost of an “on-demand” bus, such as the one in Murnau. These cannot be determined across the board, Omobi’s founders replied. A traffic change with local public transport cannot be achieved without spending money on it, Clemens Deerling said in an interview with SZ. The question is whether one wants to invest in a system that is actually used and “really competes with the car”. In Murnau, the municipality charges a reduction of around 100,000 euros, which is always a cause for criticism. Darling said the local bus is much cheaper per person than most regular buses.
Nina Huber says that in the district and in Empertal communities, how to proceed should be discussed first. Will also go to the district.