OVFlexHZ University of Applies Sciences
OVflex – a question dependent shuttle service (executed by Connexxion provincial concessionaire).
As a provincial concessionaire, Connexxion is responsible for all public transport connections/ networks in Zeeland, including the so-called ‘tourist network’, intended for transporting (tourist) residents to tourist attractions in the region. This in close cooperation with entrepreneurs. The current tourist network is too supply-driven, does unfortunately not sufficiently meet the wishes and needs of potential users (read: guests staying in the region) and does not seem to be a fully-fledges alternative for traveling by car.
As an involved concessionaire and coordinator of the pilot, Connexxion has in consultation with the Province of Zeeland, HZ Kenniscentrum Kusttoerisme and Middelburg’s business association the intention to offer a flexible public transport (OVflex) service between residence hotspots Domburg and Middelburg as well as Zoutelande and Middelburg. The public transport service will no-longer be supply-driven, but will be demand dependent. This as part of smart mobility and in line with similar concepts in other regions (although with a different group of potential users). In developing this new service, the wishes and needs of potential users have been explicitly taken into account, both on the basis of literature study and an analysis of GPS data. The data has given insight in the travel behaviour of day- and overnight visitors in the region in 2017 and 2019. Furthermore, the service was fine-tuned by co-creation of the stakeholders involved.
The final concept concerns a sustainable (demand dependent), flexible (time and place independent booking), affordable and direct transport service on order and with seating guarantee (comfort), to be executed with relatively small equipment (less environmentally harmful).
Due to current complications surrounding Covid-19, Connexxion was forced to shift its attention temporarily, so that the details of both the booking and payment process of this new service have to be worked out in more detail with its focus on availability and convenience.
Status: in consultation with Connexxion, the Province of Zeeland and a representative of Middelburg’s business association, it was decided to actually implement the concept in May 2021.