Demand-responsive bus service of the Oxford Bus Company in 2018

Demand-responsive transport (DRT), also known as demand-responsive transit, demand-responsive service,[1] Dial-a-Ride[2] transit (sometimes DART),[3] flexible transport services,[4] Microtransit,[5] Non-Emergency Medical Transport (NEMT),[5] Carpool[6] or On-demand bus service is a form of shared private or quasi-public transport for groups traveling where vehicles alter their routes each journey based on particular transport demand without using a fixed route or timetabled journeys.[7] These vehicles typically pick-up and drop-off passengers in locations according to passengers needs and can include taxis, buses or other vehicles.[8][9] Passengers can typically summon the service with a mobile phone app or by telephone; telephone is particularly relevant to older users who may not be conversant with technology.[10]

One of the most widespread types of demand-responsive transport (DRT) is to provide a public transport service in areas of low passenger demand where a regular bus service is not considered to be financially viable, such as rural and peri-urban areas.[11] Services may also be provided for particular types of passengers. One example is the paratransit programs for people with a disability. The provision of public transport in this manner emphasises one of its functions as a social service rather than creating a viable movement network.[12][13][14]


DRT and other kinds of transport

DRT can be used to refer to many different types of transport. When taxicabs were first introduced to many cities, they were hailed as an innovative form of DRT. They are still referred to as DRT in some jurisdictions around the world as their very nature is to take people from point-to-point based on their needs.[15][16][7]

More recently, DRT generally refers to a type of public transport. They are distinct from fixed-route services as they do not always operate to a specific timetable or route.[17] While specific operations vary widely, generally a particular area is designated for service by DRT. Once a certain number of people have requested a trip, the most efficient route will then be calculated depending on the origins and destinations of passengers.

Share taxis are another form of DRT. They are usually operated on an ad hoc basis but also do not have fixed routes or times and change their route and frequency depending on demand.[18]

Some DRT systems operate as a service that can deviate from a fixed route. These operate along a fixed alignment or path at specific times but may deviate to collect or drop off passengers who have requested the deviation.[1][19]

Comparison of demand-responsiveness by type

Shared vehicle

Shared journey


DRT services are restricted to a defined operating zone, within which journeys must start and finish. Journeys may be completely free form, or following skeleton routes and schedules,[11] varied as required, with users given a specified pick-up point and a time window for collection.[11] Some DRT systems may have defined termini, at one or both ends of a route, such as an urban centre, airport or transport interchange, for onward connections.

DRT systems require passengers to request a journey in advance. They may do this by booking with a central dispatcher[11][17] who determines the journey options available given the user's location and destination. Increasingly, the booking is via an app, which provides the interface to software that creates a schedule in real time; adjusting the schedule to accept (or reject) bookings as they come in. This provides an instant decision for the potential user, but at the cost of efficiency: each individual travel need is considered individually, potentially resulting in higher levels of idle time (when the schedule has gaps that are too short to allow an additional journey to be added) and "dead mileage" (driving empty between one drop-off and the next pickup) than might be expected from a schedule built by an experienced human operator.

DRT systems take advantage of fleet telematics technology in the form of vehicle location systems, scheduling and dispatching software and hand-held/in vehicle computing.[11][20]

Vehicles used for DRT services are typically small minibuses sufficient for low ridership, which allow the service to provide as near a door-to-door service as practical by using narrower residential streets.[11] In some cases taxicabs are hired by the DRT provider to serve their routes on request.

DRT schemes may be fully or partially funded by the local transit authority, with operators selected by public tendering or other methods. Other schemes may be partially or fully self-funded as community centred not for profit social enterprises (such as a community interest company in the UK). They may also be provided by private companies for commercial reasons; some conventional bus operating companies have set up DRT-style airport bus services, which compete with larger private hire airport shuttle companies.[citation needed]

Health and environmental effects

DRT can potentially reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and hence pollution and congestion, if many people are persuaded to use it instead of private cars or taxis.[10]

For a model of a hypothetical large-scale demand-responsive public transport system for the Helsinki metropolitan area, simulation results published in 2005 demonstrated that "in an urban area with one million inhabitants, trip aggregation could reduce the health, environmental, and other detrimental impacts of car traffic typically by 50–70%, and if implemented could attract about half of the car passengers, and within a broad operational range would require no public subsidies".[21]


DRT schemes may require new or amended legislation, or special dispensation, to operate, as they do not meet the traditional licensing model of authorised bus transport providers or licensed taxicab operators. The status has caused controversy between bus and taxi operators when the DRT service picks up passengers without pre-booking, due to the licensing issues.[22][23] Issues may also arise surrounding tax and fuel subsidy for DRT services.


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2021)

Ridership on DRT services is usually quite low (less than ten passengers per hour), but DRT can provide coverage effectively.[24][25]

Analysis of the Yorbus DRT scheme in a rural area of the UK showed very little combination of individual travel needs. Of the 35% of operating hours when the vehicles were carrying passengers, there was just one passenger (or a couple travelling together) for 74% of the time, and two passengers (or couples travelling together) for a further 20% of the time. The 15-seat minibuses could have been replaced by small taxis without capacity problems for 97% of the operating hours.[26]

List of current DRT systems by country

Since the mid-2010s several DRT projects started up but failed.

In the US several DRT operators appeared and promptly failed, due to either lack of customers or health and safety issues. 2019 trials in London found that "satisfaction was really high"; users scored the service at 4.8/5 and praised ease of use, safety, cleanliness and accessibility. But low take-up, misunderstandings about who the service was for, and safety concerns about unlit stops—together with problems due to the covid pandemic from 2020—caused the trials to fail.[10]

Lukas Foljanty, a shared-mobility enthusiast and market expert, keeps track of the different DRT schemes around the world and thinks a tipping point may have been reached in 2022. There were at least 450 schemes around the world, and in 2021 fifty-four new projects started within a three-month period.[10]

David Carnero of Europe-wide DRT technology company Padam said that successful DRT requires subsidies, must be delivered at scale, and must be part of an integrated, rather than competitive, transport policy.[10]





Czech Republic

Main article: cs:poptávková doprava


All 5 major Public Transit Authorities in Denmark provide door-to-door DRT services in different variants and degree.

Flextur is public transport, but with smaller vehicles that run on demand. Plustur is flexible transport that can be used in cases where the bus or train does not run all the way. Flexrute is public transport on demand - without a fixed timetable, which drives from stop to stop within a defined geographical area. There are also special needs school transport and paratransit services.

The DRT-services in Denmark are maintained as a collaboration between the PTAs in a joint venture, FlexDanmark, thus providing nation wide DRT-services (excluding some islands). There are three major operational areas:


Main article: fi:kutsuohjattu joukkoliikenne

There is paratransit service (palvelulinja, palveluliikenne) in many cities and municipalities in Finland. It is mainly aimed at those who find it difficult to use other public transport, but often anyone who wants to can order a trip.


Hong Kong

Red minibuses which serve non-franchised routes across the country, depending on routes, allow passengers to reserve their seats by phone such that operators and drivers are able to know where passengers are and how many there are in deploying their vehicles.[60][61]


Public transport authority in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik and the surrounding municipalities. Manages public bus transport and disabled transport, but does not have its own vehicles. About 1,300 enquiries and thousand trips a day. Uses 60 vehicles and 10–20 more for school transport for children with special needs.[62]


A network of over 1,000 demand responsive transport routes are provided across rural Ireland under the TFI Local Link brand. Many of these routes are once a week services which operate a door-to-door pickup from a rural area into a nearby large town, where people can access shopping and other services, followed by a return service a few hours later with a door-to-door drop off back to the same rural area. Other routes include daily return services to/from colleges or employment centres, weekend evening services to/from a night-time activity centre, weekly services to attend Mass, feeder services to connect with scheduled bus and train services, and services on off-shore islands to connect with ferry departures and arrivals.[63]

Services are managed by 15 regional TFI Local Link offices across the country on behalf of the National Transport Authority (NTA), and usually require prebooking by phoning the relevant office in advance. As of June 2023, there are no real-time app-based demand responsive transport services operating in Ireland, but in April 2023 the NTA informed suppliers that they intended "to procure a trial of and, if successful a roll out of, Smart Demand Responsive Transport services (SDRT), using app based products to secure services and routing algorithms to match vehicles with capacity to users".[64]


Following some pioneering DRT schemes implemented in the 1980s, a second wave of systems were launched from the mid-1990s. There are now DRT schemes in urban and peri-urban areas as well as in rural communities. Operated by both public transport companies and private service providers, the DRT schemes are offered either as intermediate collective transport services for generic users or as schemes for specific user groups. DRT schemes operate in major cities including Rome, Milan, Genoa, Florence, and in several mid- to small-size towns including Alessandria, Aosta, Cremona, Livorno, Mantova, Parma, Empoli, Siena, and Sarzana.


Main article: ja:デマンドバス

More than 200 of the 1,700 local governments in Japan have introduced DRT public transport services.




New Zealand


The first ever demand-responsive transport scheme in Poland – called Tele-Bus – has been operated since 2007 in Kraków by MPK, the local public transport company (see also Tramways in Kraków).[72][73]



Regional transport authority in Västra Götaland in southwestern Sweden is responsible for all public transport and for transport offers to citizens with special needs. This is an example of DRT used for people with special needs (paratransit).[79]


DRT services have operated in some sparsely populated areas (under 100 p/km2) since 1995. PostBus Switzerland Ltd, the national post company, has operated a DRT service called PubliCar, formerly also Casa Car.[80]

United Kingdom

Some DRT schemes were operating under the UK bus-operating regulations of 1986, allowed by having core start and finish points and a published schedule.[81] Regulations concerning bus service registration and application of bus-operating grants for England and Wales were amended in 2004 to allow registration of fully flexible pre-booked DRT services.[81] Some services, such as LinkUp, only pick up passengers at 'meeting points', but can set down at the passenger's destination.

The Greenwich Association of the Disabled had earlier developed a prototype service, GAD-About, which offered pre-booked door-to-door transport for its members, inspired by similar minibus usage in church and youth clubs. That was then cloned as an easily scalable module, under the aegis of London Transport, to become the Dial-a-Ride service launched as part the general services of Transport for London (TfL), rather than as a bus service.

Examples of UK schemes include:

United States

Dial-a-Ride in New Jersey, 1974
Minibuses operating on SafeRides, an overnight demand-responsive service operated by the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District in Champaign and Urbana, Illinois

The large majority of 1,500 rural systems in the US provide demand-response service; there are also about 400 urban DRT systems.[85]




As of 2022, at least 30 transit agencies in Florida have demand-response trips.[87]




New Jersey

New York

North Carolina


South Carolina





Washington State

Washington, D.C.

See also


  1. ^ a b NTD Glossary Archived 2013-11-13 at the Wayback Machine US National Transit Database
  2. ^ "Dial-a-Ride". Transport for London. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  3. ^ "DART (Dial-A-Ride Transit) Service". King County Metro Transit. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  4. ^ CONNECT is a Coordination Action in the Sustainable Development Thematic Area of the European Union's 6th Framework Program, successfully ended on December 2005.
  5. ^ a b What is Demand-Responsive Transport?
  6. ^ - what-is-demand-responsive-transport (2023-06-26). "What is … demand-responsive transport (DRT)?". ioki. Retrieved 2023-11-23.
  7. ^ a b "What is Demand-Responsive Transport?" (PDF). Transport for Communities. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  8. ^ Synopsis of DRT Archived 2010-06-20 at the Wayback Machine European Commission Directorate-General for Energy and Transport
  9. ^ Brake, Jenny; Nelson, John D.; Wright, Steve (December 2004). "Demand responsive transport: towards the emergence of a new market segment". Journal of Transport Geography. 12 (4): 323–337. doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2004.08.011.
  10. ^ a b c d e Laker, Laura (11 August 2022). "All aboard! How on‑demand public transport is getting back on the road". The Guardian.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Archived 2008-03-19 at the Wayback Machine What is DRT?
  12. ^ "Social benefits of buses: valuing the social impacts". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Integrated Public Transport Service Planning Guidelines" (PDF). Transport for New South Wales. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  14. ^ Mees, Paul (2000). A very public solution : transport in the dispersed city. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 9780522848670.
  15. ^ "Demand Responsive Transport (DRT)". Stirling Council. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  16. ^ "On-demand Transport: A discussion paper for future innovation" (PDF). The Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  17. ^ a b c d e Demand-Response Transit Service Archived 2008-09-24 at the Wayback Machine The Central Federal Lands Highway Division, US department of Transportation
  18. ^ Grava, Sigurd (September 2002). Urban transportation systems : choices for communities. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780071384179.
  19. ^ "Telebuses". Public Transport Victoria. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Using smart technologies to revitalize demand responsive transport". Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems. 1 (3): 275–293. 1994.
  21. ^ Jouni T Tuomisto, Marko Tainio: An economic way of reducing health, environmental, and other pressures of urban traffic: a decision analysis on trip aggregation, BioMed Central, November 25, 2005
  22. ^ Shuttle faces probe into 'illegal fares' Archived 2007-11-02 at the Wayback Machine Edinburgh Evening News, 13 September 2007
  23. ^ Row over Edinburgh Airport shuttle service Archived 2007-12-24 at the Wayback Machine, 15 October 2007
  24. ^ A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services
  25. ^ Human Transit: Can a "flexible route" solve the problem of low ridership due to low density? Archived 2015-09-06 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Geddes, John. "Review of Yorbus operating data, Feb-Apr 2022". DRT Questions. John Geddes. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  27. ^ "CoastConnect". Transport for NSW. Community Transport Central Coast Limited. Archived from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  28. ^ "qconnect Hervey Bay Kango Timetable" (PDF). Queensland Department of Main Roads and Transport. Qconnect. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  29. ^ "Kan-go Toowoomba". Translink. State of Queensland. Archived from the original on 17 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  30. ^ SmartLink Archived 2008-09-29 at the Wayback Machine Community Transport by Great Community Transport
  31. ^ "SkyBus – SkyBus Link – Free city hotel shuttle". Skybus. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  32. ^ "Telebuses". Public Transport Victoria. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  33. ^ Wang, Fei. "MEETING OLDER PERSONS' MOBILITY AND ACCESS NEEDS – A RE-THINK ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT" (PDF). Department of Infrastructure, Victoria. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  34. ^ Victoria, Public Transport. "On-demand bus service FlexiRide expands to Chirnside Park, Lilydale, Mooroolbark and Croydon". Public Transport Victoria. Retrieved 2023-01-03.
  35. ^ "Gemeinde Rainbach im Mühlkreis, Gemeinde Informationen für Einwohner – Fahrpläne". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  36. ^ "W³ shuttle". Archived from the original on 2020-08-11.
  37. ^ "How Belleville, Ont., is using technology to tackle transit troubles". CBC. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  38. ^ "Pantonium On-Demand Transit". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  39. ^ "Cobourg's On-Demand Bus Service". Archived from the original on 2021-03-30.
  40. ^ "On Demand Transit | City of Edmonton".
  41. ^ "RideCo blog – Launch five new services in 2 weeks". June 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-06-02.
  42. ^ "TransCab Service". City of Niagara Falls. Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  43. ^ "About WT On-Request". Winnipeg Transit. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  44. ^ "Operativní hromadná doprava". CITYA.
  45. ^ "Dispeink hromadn dopravy". DHD.
  46. ^ "RadioBUS". Audis Bus. Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  47. ^ "Vippari-joukkoliikenne". 25 May 2022.
  48. ^ "Kyläkyyti".
  49. ^ "R-kyyti".
  50. ^ "Shuttle service makes it snappy". Smart Cities World. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  51. ^ "Braunschweiger Verkehrs-GmbH – Anruflinien-Taxi". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  52. ^ "AnrufLinienFahrt (ALF) – anrufen oder online buchen und wir kommen". MVG. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  53. ^ "Anruf-Linien-Bus Verkehrsgesellschaft Meißen" (in German). Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  54. ^ "myBUS – jetzt mit gratis WLAN". (in German). DVG-Duisburger Verkehrsgesellschaft. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  55. ^ "Neu im Angebot: Anruf-Linienbus". Lausitzer Rundschau. LAUSITZER RUNDSCHAU. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  56. ^ ""freYfahrt": ÖPNV nach Bedarf und via Internet bestellbar – Wirtschaft-News" (in German). Sü Archived from the original on 17 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  57. ^ "Baxi TIR" (in German). Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  58. ^ "Baxi NEW" (in German). Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  59. ^ "Baxi SAD" (in German). Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  60. ^ "RMB Route: Aberdeen – Shek Tong Tsui". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  61. ^ "RMB Route: Sai Kung – Causeway Bay". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  62. ^ "Case Study: Reykjavik and surrounding district". Trapeze. 2017. Archived from the original on 10 January 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  63. ^ "TFI Local Link". July 2023.
  64. ^ "Public RFT - Smart Demand Responsive Transport services PIN".
  65. ^ "Drinbus: network and timetables" (in Italian). AZIENDA MOBILITA' E TRASPORTI SpA. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  66. ^ "Flexibus". Sales-Lentz. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  67. ^ Laura Ducoli, Lisa (8 March 2018). "Kussbus: Redefining the daily commute". Luxembourg Times. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  68. ^ "Open tender in Selangor's DRT service would've created monopoly, says Asia Mobility". Free Malaysia Today. 27 May 2024. Retrieved 27 May 2024.
  69. ^ "Public transport with Trek Rides and Rapid KL made easier with RM2 Rides". The Sun. 6 April 2024. Retrieved 27 May 2024.
  70. ^ "Selangkah users can now find shared rides to public transport services in Klang Valley". The Star. 5 Dec 2023. Retrieved 27 May 2024.
  71. ^ "MyWay by Metro - Timaru's on-demand public transport service". Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  72. ^ "MPK SA in Cracow / Tele-Bus". MPK. 28 May 2011. Archived from the original on 28 May 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  73. ^ "Tele-Bus Kraków". Vimeo. MPK.
  74. ^ "The On The Way mobility-on-demand service is launched in Moscow today - Moscow Transport Portal". Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  75. ^ a b ""По пути"". Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  76. ^ "Что такое ТиНАО (расшифровка)?". Портал новой Москвы Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  77. ^ "Префектура ТиНАО города Москвы". Archived from the original on 2020-03-28. Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  78. ^ "ГУП "Мосгортранс": В ТиНАО увеличилась зона работы сервиса "По пути"". Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  79. ^ "Multiple forms of transport in just one work-stream". (in Swahili). Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  80. ^ "PubliCar". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  81. ^ a b Registration of Flexible Local Bus Services and Related BSOG Regulations UK Department for Transport
  82. ^ "The bus service of the future?". Kent Online. 2020-11-29. Retrieved 2022-08-20.
  83. ^ "£1.5 million minibus service could face axe if users fail to rise". Watford Observer. 23 July 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-20.
  84. ^ Grimsditch, Lee (2020-07-30). "Arriva Click say they will not be returning to Liverpool". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2022-08-20.
  85. ^ Ellis, Elizabeth; McCollom, Brian (2009). Guidebook for Rural Demand-Response Transportation: Measuring, Assessing, and Improving Performance (PDF). document of The Transportation Research Board. p. 100. doi:10.17226/14330. ISBN 978-0-309-28022-8.
  86. ^ "FlexRide".
  87. ^ "Florida Transit Agencies". Plan For Transit. Retrieved 2023-12-06.
  88. ^ "NSB Flex". 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  89. ^ Solodev (2018-02-06). "NeighborLink | Public Transportation Services for Orange, Se". Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  90. ^ "SNAP » TAPS". Retrieved 2023-01-11.
  91. ^ "Bay County uses grant to help pay bus, Uber fees for 'transportation disadvantaged' people". Panama City News Herald. Retrieved 2023-12-06.
  92. ^ "Transit Department | Henry County, GA - Official Website".
  93. ^ "Henry Connect Microtransit | Henry County, GA - Official Website".
  94. ^ Wronski, Richard (4 November 2011). "Pace sees growth of Call-n-Ride shuttles". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2015-08-22.
  95. ^ "Ride On Flex". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  96. ^ Rivera, Marcus (2021-01-31). "System map – click on 2nd orange link". Archived from the original on 2015-06-22.
  97. ^ "Evening Service". Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  98. ^ "Cherokee NC Community Transit, Elderly & Handicap Transportation". Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  99. ^ Rivera, Marcus (2021-01-31). "Mts webpage". Archived from the original on 2018-05-15.
  100. ^ "Transportation – Trailblazer Routes". Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  101. ^ "Flex Connect". Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  102. ^ "Tel-A-Ride | CARTA". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  103. ^ " – GoLink". Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  104. ^ McKane, Scott (2022-08-08). "UTA expands 'on demand' service to Davis, Tooele counties". FOX 13 News Utah. Retrieved 2023-07-26.
  105. ^ "GRTC CARE On-Demand | GRTC". Retrieved 2022-01-03.
  106. ^ "Zone Service". Whatcom Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2022-11-28.
  107. ^ "Flex Service". Whatcom Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2022-11-28.
  108. ^ "DART". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  109. ^ "Access Transportation". King County Metro. May 31, 2019. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  110. ^ "Finley". Ben Franklin Transit. Archived from the original on June 16, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2013.


  1. ^ "Carpool", Wikipedia, 2023-11-17, retrieved 2023-11-23