Deutsche Bahn subsidiary ioki has launched an individual shuttle service in Hamburg. The on-demand offer complements the public transit by operator VHH and is included in their ticketing. The partners opted for the range-extended electric taxis made by British LEVC.
For LEVC, it is the second project in Germany as they recently launched their electric cabs in beige to serve as regular taxis reportedly.
The current project in Hamburg however is adding a new technology component. Deutsche Bahn subsidiary ioki relies on algorythms to “bundle” passengers wanting to ride similar routes in one cab. Moreover, the ioki offer is to tie in neatly into the existing public transport system and time tables as specified by VHH (Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein). From August, 8 however, the service will be available around the clock.
A ride may start at a designated station and end at any address within the service area or the other way around. Deutsche Bahn also wants to introduce additional “optimal stops” not unlike meeting points used when pooling passengers for an Uber cab.
For the moment, the service is available in the Hamburg districts of Lurup and Osdorf. The size of the fleet has not been disclosed officially but media reports counted ten electric cabs for a start.
LEVCs electric taxis convinced for various reasons but mainly through their size and connectivity. The TX offers space for 6 persons and also enables easy access for people using wheelchairs.
The electric cabs built in Coventry are also running in Scandinavia since LEVC signed an agreement with Fortnum reportedly. Moreover, LEVC say they have interest from taxi operators in France and the Netherlands. The company recently launched their second model, an electric van for inner city logistics as well (we reported).
In Hamburg, the ioki on-demand service is part of a push to become a smart city. Deutsche Bahn is part of the initiative of the same name.
deutschebahn.com (in German)
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