Identifying potential market niches for Demand Responsive Transport
2013-08-14T12:01:08Z (GMT) by
In principle, Demand Responsive Transport services, or paratransit in US nomenclature, offer public transport providers a more flexible and potentially more cost effective delivery option than conventional bus services, particularly in situations of low demand. However in practice, there are many examples of promising DRT schemes that have failed, for a number of reasons. One recurring feature appears to be that the DRT operation introduced is not appropriate for the market served. This is due to a lack of knowledge as to what markets may be susceptible to DRT. This paper aims to help address this research gap by drawing on the findings of two qualitative research data collection efforts, exploratory in-depth interviews and focus groups, each including industry experts. Using a marketing framework, developments at the micro, meso and macro level are explored to determine the circumstances necessary for developing ‘successful’ DRT market niches. Implications for managerial practice include integration of services to improve market penetration and in responding to market development opportunities aimed at the general public. Technology plays the greatest role in responding to market niche demand, primarily in enabling flexible booking and providing real time information, supporting market development, product development and diversification opportunities.