Customer story

Connecting senior citizens to their community in Oslo

Goal

Provide an automated and user-friendly system to connect Oslo’s aging population to the wider community.

Overview

Senior-focused transportation is becoming increasingly vital to Oslo's transit infrastructure, but until recently the options available to senior citizens had been limited. In September 2017, Ruter launched the Ruter Aldersvennlig Transport (RAT), a shared door-to-door transportation service for people aged 67+. After a few years of relying on Trapeze paratransit software, Ruter switched to using the Spare Platform to drastically modernize the way in which RAT was run. This transition has paved the way for Oslo to become a key player in the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.

Challenges

While the RAT service was well-received upon first launch, several key challenges prompted Ruter to approach Spare:

  • Ruter’s legacy software required manual matching between passengers and drivers, making it difficult to scale RAT effectively;
  • Riders were used to calling in bookings, but this was time-consuming for riders and an expensive solution for Ruter;
  • The service is used solely by senior residents, who tend to be less familiar with app-based ride-hailing technology;
  • Ruter’s existing paratransit and reduced fee taxi programs were being overburdened, owing to a lack of viable alternatives for senior citizens.

Solution

As ridership began increasing, Ruter had to significantly improve its operational technology to allow it to properly scale its service.

The Spare Engine allowed Ruter to automatically assign trips to drivers. Enabling optimal routing and matching helped to slash administrative and operational costs, and to eliminate the need for riders to book trips many hours ahead of pickup.

Using Spare Open API, Ruter and Spare collaborated on a user-friendly digital booking interface tailored to senior users, which reduced the burden on Ruter’s call centre. For instance, we created customized user profiles that included favorite locations and default accessibility needs.

"In the development of new mobility services, it is exciting to look at the opportunities that technology offers us. Among other things, Spare will help us with operational optimization and deliver new, efficient and targeted customized mobility services to our customers."
Kristine KrebsLeader of Mobility Services, Ruter

Results

The RAT service has transformed the way senior citizens connect with their communities. 20% of all residents aged 80+ in the district of Nordre Aker use RAT, with 88% of riders being 'very satisfied'. Further, RAT has reduced demand for the city's existing paratransit service and enabled it to cater to others requiring more specialized assistance.

Convenient mobility options help to avoid social isolation amongst seniors, with knock-on benefits for their physical and mental health. The impressive uptake of RAT suggests riders are socializing and moving around their neighborhoods more easily than before. Since Spare partnered with Ruter, over 50% of trips have been pooled between riders who may not have known each other. This is proving very popular because it forges a sense of community cohesion and reduces loneliness.