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Mönchengladbach: On-Demand-Shuttle „Op Jück“ in Rheindahlen

© Christian Marquordt

As early as 1 July 1921, the previously independent town of Rheindahlen became a district of Mönchengladbach.

Mönchengladbach’s transport company connected the new suburb to its inner-city public transport network, but – it was located somewhat outside and did not have too many inhabitants – to a “manageable” extent The public transport network of Mönchengladbach’s neighbouring town Rheydt also reached Rheindahlen, for example with the trolley bus lines 4 and 14 (Rheydt was an independent town until 1929 and then became a district of the new town with the name “Gladbach-Rheydt”. This lasted until 31 December 1974; since 1 January 1975 Rheydt has once again been a district of Mönchengladbach, this time without the name “Rheydt” appearing in the official name of the town.

“op Jück”

A on-demand service called “Op Jück” (in the local dialect: on tour) started operation in Rheindahlen on 3 April. The service operates on weekdays (Monday to Friday) from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., serving Rheindahlen and the surrounding area. Two fully electric Mercedes-Benz eVito (“MG-ED 103 E” and “MG-ED 104 E”) are available. They are painted in the corporate identity of the municipal transport company NEW. Central point in the service area is the ZOB on Hilderather Straße. Here is the charging station where the two minibuses recharge, and here they wait for the next journey if there is nothing to do.

Op Jück” was realised together with the software company “ioki”, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn.

“Op Jück” is booked via an app, and it is also paid for via this app. This could be seen as a certain weakness of the offer: not everyone – especially older people – has an app-enabled smartphone. The tariff for “op Jück” is the normal on-demand tariff of the Verkehrs-Verbund Rhein – Ruhr. It is distance-dependent and takes into account how many passengers are travelling (the two eVitos can take up to six passengers). If you have a VRR season ticket, you pay 25% less. If more than one person orders a ride, the first two “passengers” only pay 25% of the normal fare, and all other passengers in a group (from passenger 4) travel free of charge.

If you order via the app, you will receive a message telling you when you will be picked up at which nearby “virtual” stop. And when you are expected to reach your destination. The driver is informed of the most convenient route.

If there is a second request for a ride with a similar route at the same or similar time, the two journeys are combined (“ride pooling”). This means, however, that in the interest of maximum efficiency, it is possible to deviate slightly from the “ideal” route. And the arrival at the destination can therefore be delayed somewhat. For this reason, it is recommended to register not with the desired departure time, but with the desired arrival time, if punctual arrival is important.

Drivers from the municipal transport company

The drivers for the two on-demand shuttles are provided by the municipal transport company NEW. On other days, they drive normal city buses. During his visit on 11 April, the fifth day on which “op Jück” was in operation, the author had the opportunity to talk to one of the drivers. He said that demand was still very quiet. But first word had to get around that “op Jück” was now available.         

© Christian Marquordt