The Syndicat Mixte des Transports du Bassin d’Alès (SMBTA), in France’s Gard region, is to rename its NTecC public transport network from April 2021.
All mobility services will be refashioned under the identity of Ales’Y as the public transport operator seeks to increase network ridership and commercial revenues by 28 per cent.
New mobility services
The transition will result in the deployment of France’s first public carpooling network, development of new mobility services as well as the introduction of hydrogen-powered buses. Services will be named Ales’Y by Bus, Ales’Y Carpool, Ales’Y by Bike and Ales’Y by Scooter.
This new public service concession, operated and maintained by Keolis and lasting nine years and eight months, is forecast to generate cumulative revenue of more than €120m.
Intended to serve the city of Alès and 101 other municipalities of the SMBTA, which has 147,000 inhabitants, the current network, called NTecC, is structured around 113 lines (13 urban, 25 suburban, eight lines serving the markets, 60 school lines and seven on-demand transport routes), city centre electric shuttles, and an electrically assisted bicycle rental service.
In order to respond more precisely to the mobility needs of this partly rural area, the future transport network will evolve by integrating 25 additional lines and will benefit from numerous developments including:
a doubling of the electrically-assisted bicycle fleet, with the integration, in January 2021, of 100 additional bicycles, bringing the fleet to 200 bicycles
the conversion of city centre shuttles into free of charge, 100 per cent electric vehicles. Following the launch of two shuttles in 2020, a third one will be added to the free city centre shuttle service
introduction of the first public carpooling network in spring 2021, structured around 10 main traffic routes in the region, with the aim of reducing the number of daily private cars on the road. Municipalities located on these routes will have a pick-up/drop-off point for carpooling or bus stops that will be served by the driver, who will be compensated for each journey made with at least one person
the provision of a service of 50 electrically assisted scooters, to be paired with the launch of the carpooling network to allow people sharing a ride to benefit from a transport solution for the last mile of their journey.
Additionally, to help support the conurbation in its desire to accelerate the energy transition in its region, Keolis will initiate an evaluation process for vehicles running on alternative fuels. From May 2021,100 per cent hydrogen fuelled buses will be trialled on four lines of the network.
Further symbolising the modernisation of the network, passengers will be able to benefit from the Ales’Y mobile app from spring 2021, Keolis reports. Passenger information will be significantly enhanced through this app, which will enable customers to obtain real-time information about bus journeys.
Eventually, the entire fare range will go paperless and will be accessible directly from the website or on smartphones.