Since the start of the contract to operate the Ginko network in January 2018, Keolis has been constantly improving mobility services for local actors and inhabitants of the Besançon area. This is challenging, given that the Municipality of Greater Besançon has 190,000 inhabitants in 69 municipalities and a public transport network that combines trams, BRT services, buses, coaches, bicycles, on-demand transport, transport for people with reduced mobility, carsharing, park-and-ride facilities and secure bicycle shelters. "During the call for tenders, we proposed network improvements to Greater Besançon based on the findings of our Keoscopie studies, which analyse how socio-demographic changes in local communities affect mobility," explains Carol Ambrosini, Marketing, Customers and Mobility Director of Keolis Besançon. We focused on two areas in particular: the transport offer and passenger information."
Keoscopie provides Keolis with a unique tool to design and improve its transport offer, thus providing a better response to the challenges of each community. Illustration: reconfiguring the Ginko network in Greater Besançon.
Developing the network
Enhancing bus lines was one of the major developments of the Ginko network. Known as "Lianes", these high-frequency lines complement services provided by heavy transport modes (the Besançon tram) to help users to get around easily and at all times in areas with high footfall like shopping centres, the city centre or the hospital. Offering a frequent service with long hours, running seven days a week, evenings and holidays, the "Lianes" are lines that customers can always count on. "This is what we call the permanent appeal of the offer, and it's one of the main outcomes of our Keoscopie research," Carol Ambrosini points out.
Another key priority of reconfiguring the network was to improve the quality of passenger information to make the network easier to use. Special attention was paid to making the tools accessible for people with vulnerabilities, another one of the recommendations drawn from the Keoscopie research. With this in mind, Keolis Besançon has launched a new website, a mobile app and an online shop for Ginko. Extensive work is also underway on installing dynamic information channels including passenger information terminals at tram stations and bus stops and on board vehicles.
Breaking down preconceptions
One of Keoscopie's great virtues is that it challenges conventional wisdom. Studies carried out in the community helped Keolis to take a fresh look at the habits and lifestyles of Besançon's residents. "We tend to believe that rush hour accounts for all daily travel, when in fact it only represents 20 or 30% of journeys in a day," says Carol Ambrosini. "Similarly, home-work commutes only account for 20% of daily flows, hence the importance of maintaining a year-round service to cater to other reasons for travelling."
Another common misconception is that there are far more trips to the city than to other parts of the local area. In Besançon, the reality is quite different. The Keoscopie studies show a balanced number of trips in both directions. As a result, Keolis is working with its partners on incorporating all forms of mobility beyond the scope of the local region. This includes intermodality with regional trains and buses, for example.
Sharing for progress
Since 2018, Keolis has organised numerous meetings to share Its findings with elected officials, the public transport authority and employees of its subsidiary, Keolis Besançon Mobilités. Keolis is committed to a collaborative approach with the community. "These studies are very much appreciated by the elected representatives and technicians of the Municipality of Greater Besançon," says Carol Ambrosini. "They offer a different, unique vision of passengers' habits and expectations in the Besançon area, offering perspective on the issues at stake and providing all the necessary information in order to make the right choices. Take the issue of free public transport for example: Keoscopie studies have shown that the majority of users would rather have more frequent transport services at a fair price than a free service!"