eBus OnDemand – Stoke: download the app now

Posted on 27 July 2023

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eBus OnDemand – Stoke: download the app now

The app for Stoke’s new OnDemand bus service is now available on the Apple and Google app stores.

eBus OnDemand - Stoke kicks off on August 1 and passengers can now download the app, created by Liftango, that will be used to request a bus using their mobile phones so they are ready to go on launch day.

To find the app on the Apple or Google app store search: ‘ebus ondemand Stoke’. When passengers download the app they will be able to set up an account, but you won’t be able to request a bus until August 1.

People who do not have access to a mobile phone will be able to order a bus by calling Nelson City Council Customer Service team on 03 546 0200.

Here’s how the service works:

  • Passengers request a bus using the app or by calling the number above.
  • The service runs Monday to Friday, 9am – 3pm
  • The app will show you how far away your bus is and when and where to meet it.
  • Meeting places or ‘virtual stops’ are dotted throughout Stoke so you should never be more than a short walk from where you meet the bus. These virtual stops are visible on the app or passengers are given an address to go to on the phone.
  • Passengers who have ordered a bus by calling Council will be told when and where to meet the bus and have a text message sent to their phone when it is about to arrive.
  • Try to be on time – the bus can only wait a couple of minutes.
  • Pay for the bus using Bee Card or cash as usual.
  • The service operates on the same fare schedule as the rest of the eBus service - $2 Bee Card fare for an adult with no concession. Super Gold Card holders travel free at off peak times.
  • Free transfers within one hour mean passengers can take the OnDemand service to a major bus route and then get their next journey for free.
  • Remember, this is a bus ride sharing service and the bus doesn't travel on a set route. It will take the most efficient route to your destination based on the destinations of other passengers and yourself.

Group Manager Infrastructure Alec Louverdis says the new service may take a little getting used to but is a significant upgrade on the Loop service.

“We aren’t the first Council to introduce an OnDemand bus service in New Zealand, but we are proud of our new service. There are similar services in Hawkes Bay, Timaru and Wellington. The AT Local service in Auckland also operates on a platform created by Liftango. We think this is a concept that is likely to become much more popular.

“Patronage on the current loop service is steady as it is well used by older adults in Stoke who get free travel with their Super Gold card, but it went to quite a limited number of places. We expect demand to increase with the new service, in line with what other areas have seen as the new service will provide greater access to a larger number of people by operating where passengers want to travel rather than on a fixed route that doesn’t reach the entire community.”

eBus OnDemand can take people as far afield as Marsden Valley Road and Monaco and passengers will have a better idea of when their bus is due to arrive, meaning much less waiting around.

“Our transport team will be visiting retirement homes, community groups, Blind Low Vision and the library to give people a chance to see how the service works before or close to launch day,” says Louverdis. “We know there will be a learning curve for some people, but we’re confident that in time it will become second nature.”

One key difference between eBus Stoke OnDemand, compared to the rest of the eBus fleet which is predominantly electric, is that the vehicles used are Euro 6 low-emission diesel, which is the lowest emissions rating. This is mostly because EVs at this size on the market have their batteries under the floor, which stops wheelchairs and people with limited mobility from using them.

“The range of electric vehicles at this size is currently quite limited,” says Louverdis. “But we expect manufacturers to introduce more EV options in coming years, at which point we will be able to move to electric.”

“What I am really interested to see is whether this will work as a service that we could roll out in other areas of our region. For instance, if it is a success in Stoke it might be useful in South or North Nelson as well.”

Liftango APAC Delivery Manager Steven Jones helped create the app and says his team are looking forward to seeing the new service in action.

“We are excited to work with Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council to provide a safe and more convenient transport option. We know the OnDemand service will help unlock all the good that comes from shared transport for the Stoke community.”

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