Special forms of public transport

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Bus and “Bus Taxi” in Assen , Netherlands

Public transport special forms denote needs-oriented variants of local public transport in city , local or regional transport . The spectrum ranges from regular buses , which, as required, travel to their usual stops at normal public transport fares, as in regular transport , to taxis , which travel individually from door to door at set departure times.

Like the offers themselves, the names for these offers are very different: dial-a-bus , demand bus, push-button bus ( ÖBB-Postbus ), call line trip , call-collective taxi or radio bus ( Milan , Czech Republic ), Publicar (Switzerland) or z . B. Belbus ( Netherlands , Dutch barking "calling").

In parallel to many call bus routes, normal buses usually run in school , sometimes also in rush hour traffic , as the number of passengers is greatly increased at these times.

Demand-oriented service

Even the use of smaller vehicles or stop service only when required represents a need-based service . A distinction must be made between

  • Demand-oriented vehicle use (in bus operations e.g. articulated , midi , minibuses or taxis, including bus trailers )
  • Demand-oriented line routing (partial or branch line only on request, direct operation or e.g. ring line , loop travel)
  • Demand-oriented travel offer (frequency offer or demand-oriented timetable , general or only partial call service)
  • Demand-oriented stop operation (demand stop, additional operation on request, stop between stops , operation up to the front door or from door to door)

The products differ further in terms of the tariff structure. Basic service offers, e.g. B. for the development of rural areas, are usually done with or without surcharges to the normal tariff . Additional services that go beyond or supplement the basic service are offered with higher comfort surcharges or, in some cases, special special tariffs (these are often collective call taxis ). The special forms of public transport also include line operations with exclusively voluntary staff ( citizens' bus ) or by taxi companies on behalf of the transport company . However, citizens' buses are no longer legally a part of public transport and may therefore not be used as a replacement or competition for public transport services.

The passenger information for needs-based offers must contain information on the request ("Call at a certain time before use at the latest"), stop operation (route) and vehicle use. Designations such as "Taxibus" or "Linientaxi" are not sufficient, as they only describe the size of the vehicles used ( minibus , car), but not the two properties of a "dial-a-bus" (bus + call) - a taxi can be stopped directly, the “Taxibus”, on the other hand, only runs after booking in advance.

Call bus routes and shared taxis

Distinguishing features

The spectrum ranges from demand-oriented cycle operation to individual operation on request. Individual line branches (e.g. remote locations) can only be operated on request. A combination of regular and calling is possible if you do not register at central stops (train station, transfer point).

The basic distinguishing features compared to the regular bus are that the passenger has to register his / her desired journey via a call box at the bus stop or via a special telephone number at a control center . It is also possible to register with a light rail , tram or bus driver. The order must be received a certain time before the scheduled departure date , usually 30 to 120 minutes in advance . This means that the vehicle can be dispatched as required. In order to shorten the required ordering time, a well-frequented taxi stand can be used at a transfer station.

The basic distinguishing features from normal taxis are that the journeys are made at fixed times on a fixed route and with fixed local transport tariffs (often with surcharges, sometimes with special tariffs). As many passengers as possible should be transported together. People who want to travel a similar route at around the same time are therefore transported at the same time.

Usually the providers of the municipal public transport have concluded contracts with one or more local taxi companies for taxi use. Each passenger has to pay a tariff fixed fare. So it is not calculated according to vehicle and taximeter, as is usual. These trips are usually specially marked in the timetable.


The pre-order of a transport service by the passengers requires a special organization in order to accept and forward telephone calls as well as to process long-term orders (e.g. for commuters). Either a locally accessible headquarters (usually a taxi company) or a central call center is required for this. In the latter case, the call is often made using a special number (in Germany 0180 ... with special tariffs for calls from cellular networks ). In addition to the fare, passengers incur additional costs that are not caused by e.g. B. a fare discount can be offset. The transport companies incur additional costs for staff and, if necessary, premises for information, processing and telephone centers. Another possibility is automated concepts, for example using call columns that are in direct contact with bus drivers via computer or - conceivable in the future - through fully automatic SMS and Internet ordering.

On many call bus routes, normal buses continue to run mostly in school and sometimes also in rush hour traffic, as the number of passengers is greatly increased at these times and justifies profitable use.

Call bus, call bus, taxi bus

This form of demand service is used for offers of a basic supply or development. Additional costs for passengers are kept low or largely avoided. The aim is to provide a minimum supply in areas with low passenger volumes. From a temporal point of view, there are major differences, including a. including weekends and public holidays, evening (late), night and early traffic.


  • Call line service (ALF), Call line service (ALD)
  • Call line bus, call line taxi (ALT, alita)
  • Call bus, call bus, "call me bus"
  • Scheduled taxi (LBT)
  • "Taxibus", "Line taxi", "On-demand bus"
  • Call taxi, call taxi
  • ISTmobil (in the Austrian federal states of Styria, Carinthia, Lower Austria)

There were examples of a first trial run in 1977/1978 in Friedrichshafen and Wunstorf with special minibuses.

The vehicles travel on fixed routes - often on the same route that is used by normal scheduled services when there are more passengers. However, they only drive on request and usually only serve the stops for which there is a service request. As a rule, the normal tariff applies, in some cases a small surcharge has to be paid.

Since, on the one hand, routes are used which in the outskirts usually differ from those of the regular buses and, on the other hand, a high frequency of journeys is to be achieved, minibuses or minibuses are mostly used.

Required stops in the regular service

On-call bus concepts avoid empty journeys to remote stops that are rarely used. On-call bus stops, also called on- demand stops , are only approached when a passenger has ordered. The Rufbushaltestellen of ÖBB - Postbus for example, send the order directly to the bus driver. The technical facility of the stop on demand must forward the order in good time so that the bus driver still has enough time to include the stop in question in his current route. No separate timetable is created for these lines with on-call bus stops. If there is no order, the travel time gained is included in the timetable reserve available to the bus driver. This concept therefore mainly serves to save the number of kilometers traveled by buses and to increase passenger comfort, protect the environment, reduce particulate matter and avoid noise in residential areas. The increase in passenger comfort is achieved by the fact that the bus can travel at a more constant speed, since the timetable reserves obtained usually lead to a smoother journey.

Call collective taxi

Abbreviations: AST, ASTax (Austria)

With these systems there is a fixed network of stops, but the route from stop to stop is arbitrary and adapted to the respective wishes of the passengers (often service to the front door). This system differs from a shared taxi , in which mostly large taxis or minibuses are used, but this can be described more as a "jointly ordered taxi".

In Germany, several areas have counties introduced AST lines for the operation of rural areas process that first it (ie to offers comparable to comes to the provision of a minimum on weekdays on less popular links rufbuslinien ). In addition, there are offers as a replacement or supplement to regular bus operations in low-load traffic - in the evening until late at night, in the early morning and on weekends. The latter also exist within urban areas or in the outskirts. They are often used in connection with train or bus routes.

A network of several lines with a central transfer point and direct connections is often offered. Either a regular network tariff, sometimes with special comfort surcharges, or a special tariff is applied for use. Line networks in the country are designed in such a way that even remote locations can be reached (possibly by changing trains). The booking of the offers takes place via a central telephone number, u. a. to prevent fraud by the providers (taxi companies). The taxis can stop at any bus stop in the places they drive to, but not at a desired address.

This must be distinguished from the mediation of shared taxi rides: Using taxi apps, for example, it is possible to share a taxi ride with a strange passenger who is getting on along the route and wants to be transported in the same direction. This makes travel costs significantly cheaper for passengers. Pick-up and destination addresses can be selected individually. It is a normal taxi ride where only the cost is shared.

Demand-controlled area operation

In demand-controlled area operation, vehicles travel back and forth from house to house or stop to stop. The concept is based on the idea of ​​transporting people in minibuses without a timetable or line connection (different from the regular call bus and call shared taxi), but with grouping of trips (different from the taxi), almost as individually as with your own car. Booking and billing is usually done via smartphone apps.

Other regular services

Regular taxi

The term Linientaxi ( LT ) usually means regular service according to a fixed, i.e. not demand-oriented timetable with a large car. In this case, prior registration is only required for group trips due to the limited number of seats. In contrast to the citizen bus, it is operated by employed staff, usually a commissioned taxi company. A regular taxi service can be operated at certain times of low traffic, but also based on demand by phone call or as a rail replacement service .

Regular taxis are very common in Eastern Europe ( Russia , Ukraine , Lithuania , Bulgaria ) and are called “Marschrutnoje taksi” , or Marschrutka ” for short, or “Marschrutno taksi” in Bulgaria . Although you have a fixed route, there is a call for disembarking passengers at any desired point. Boarding passengers are picked up at the bus stops that are on the route, but also by waving outside the stops. The price ranges between the fare for a bus trip and the price for a regular taxi.

In Latin America they are usually called Colectivo or Público , in Israel Scherut , in Turkey they are called Dolmuş , in East Africa Matatu , in Ghana Tro-Tro . In Indonesia you travel by bemo , in the Philippines by jeepney and in Hong Kong by minibus . In parts of Africa the term Bush Taxi or the French translation taxi (de) Brousse is also common.

A list of the different names in various states is available in this article .

Line service with taxis

If mostly less frequented lines are completely taken over by a taxi company, one also speaks of line service with taxis. Instead of the regular buses, minibuses and / or taxis operate here according to a fixed, non-demand-oriented timetable.

Citizen bus

The citizen bus is a bus line that was usually founded on a private initiative (citizen bus association) to close gaps in local public transport. A citizen bus can run on request - but also in regular (cyclical) operation. It is characteristic of most citizens' buses that they run in minibuses run by volunteer drivers. The buses are often purchased here with the support of the municipality / municipality and insurance is taken out for the drivers. Citizens 'buses are often used when neither bus operators nor taxi companies can meet the citizens' transport needs in an economically sensible way. Then "the citizen" takes the children to school, the sick to the doctors, etc. in a vehicle provided by the community.

Tramp bus

In the case of a tramp bus, it is possible to get off (possibly also to get on) between the stops or even off the line on request. Such offers are particularly suitable in rural, sparsely populated areas, but they are also used in large cities for late and night traffic.

Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

PRT is a concept of a driverless, track-guided passenger transport system that uses small, independent cabins with its scheduled or on- demand vehicles, with which passengers can reach their destination fully automatically on request without intermediate stops on the expanded lines, usually with their own lane.

Passenger information

Call buses represent a significant change in service compared to regular regular service. Due to the need for advance notice - also for the return journey (generally at least 30 to 60 minutes in advance, accurate to the minute; sometimes even the evening before) - spontaneous journeys or journeys that cannot be precisely planned are hardly possible. The exact departure and travel times cannot be foreseen for the passengers either. The offers are therefore not available for certain groups of passengers. For this reason, clear labeling in timetables and local notices is necessary. A simple sign that can be confused with the marking of line routes or traffic restrictions (e.g. holiday traffic) does not do this justice.

The situation is different if the (follow-up) order can be placed with a tram , tram or bus driver by shortening the pre-registration time to 10 to 20 minutes . Such offers can then also be used spontaneously. There is also the option of allowing a central transfer point (train station or central bus station in city centers) to use the services without prior notification - this means that most passengers do not have to register in one direction of travel. Several stops can also be excluded from the pre-registration, then a combination of regular clock and call operations is created. However, there are high demands on information systems in order to provide information in a simple and comprehensible manner. If the reason for the classification of individual stops as call stops is not clearly recognizable, the passengers will be overwhelmed.

As with a regular bus, the passenger information on the vehicle includes the name of the route and the destination / route. Further points are connection, network and tariff information and a locally identifiable telephone number (area code). Special numbers can only be reached from the fixed network at the local rate (0180 numbers), higher rates are to be paid from cell phones (cell phones). Since most of the passengers in rural areas are schoolchildren and the return journey must also be registered, many calls are made from cell phones.

See also

Broadcast reports

Web links

Commons : Special forms of public transport  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. https://www.postauto.ch/de/search/publicar-rufbus
  2. Martin U. Müller : New taxi app: On the cheap tour . In: Spiegel Online . December 3, 2017 ( spiegel.de [accessed December 3, 2017]).