The tiny autonomous which is currently shuttling between the new Ommelander Ziekenhuis and the near bus stop in Scheemda, has welcomed it’s 1500st passenger: Jacob Gernaat uit Scheemda.
The tiny bus – the ‘autonom shuttle’ – covers the distance between the hospital’s main entrance and the bus stop. Patients, visitors and employees of the hospital are quite pleased with the tiny bus. In order to provide even better service to travellers, Arriva shall extend the shuttle service from 5 November onwards to service hours from 8 Am to 6 PM (used to be 9 AM to 5 PM). The new schedule shall be available on reisplanner 9292.nl after next week.
Jacob Gernaat was quite surprised when he was handed a bouquet of flowers by Provincial Executive Member Fleur Gräper-van Koolwijk. The fact that within such a short span of time over one thousand people were transported, surpasses all expectations. The shuttle service, which has now been operative for three months, is aimed to be tested over a period of half a year. During this testing period passengers are allowed free use of the shuttle service and subsequently asked to share their experiences through a user survey.
Up until now, the majority of the passengers see the shuttle service as a positive development. Passengers are pleased to be able to travel independently without having to take a taxi. They also appreciate the fact that a host is present in the vehicle to accompany passengers. The French supplier of the shuttle - NAVYA – is positive about this pilot as well.
From 5 November onwards Arriva plans to extend the shuttle service hours from 8 AM to 6 PM, thus acknowledging passengers’ requests for earlier and later availability of the bus. The shuttle service will also be offered on a number of Saturdays. In addition, the shuttle schedule shall be better coordinated with the service schedules of the existing bus lines as well as made available on the reisplanner 9292.nl website.
The pliot with the autonomous shuttle shall last till the end of January 2019. If it proves to be a success, an assessment shall be made whether the bus service shall be permanently integrated in the local public transportation services. In a next phase, its route shall possibly be extended to Scheemda’s city centre and railway station. With this pilot, the Northern Netherlands have placed itself at the forefront of the development of autonomous transportation in the Netherlands. For the Province of Groningen this is the first autonomous tiny bus pilot, which actually includes passenger transportation.