Tandem - Tandem - Tackling Transport Poverty in Towns and Small Cities

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Objectives of the service

Tandem is creating new transport options for people living in towns and small cities – places where poor public transport often prevents access to jobs, healthcare, education and social connections.

This project sees Tandem partner with existing local taxi companies to turn their vehicles into shared shuttles – with each passenger just paying for their seat – offering a taxi-like service for prices close to those of local buses (where they do exist).

A lack of public transport also hurts local business, such as employers and employment agencies who struggle to fill roles because potential recruits can’t reach their sites. As such, these third parties will play a crucial and unique role in this project.

Users and their needs

Tandem’s services are targeted at people living in towns, small cities and peri-urban areas – communities that have been ignored by most mobility technology companies.

In particular, Tandem is committed to building solutions for those on low-incomes who otherwise might struggle to access work due to a lack of public transport.

Tandem will also partner with local employers, employment agencies and other third parties whose business suffers when public transport services are inadequate – ‘Journey Generators’ who will help lower the costs of journeys for end-passengers.

In doing so, Tandem is also unlocking latent demand for local transport providers – especially local taxi and minibus companies.

Service/ system concept

Our first service is a shared shuttle service focused on helping lower-income workers get to and from work, at industrial site locations that are often on the edge of town and where public transport options are often lacking. Passengers book in advance and are matched with other passengers heading the same way at the same time, enabling each to pay just for their own seat in the vehicle, creating an affordable, reliable option to get to work.

Tandem’s system borrows principles from mobility technology companies operating in huge cities, but have identified a range of adaptations to ensure the model’s viability in these smaller geographies.

  • Ride-sharing and routing approach designed bespoke for smaller geographies
  • Partnerships with existing local taxi and minibus companies
  • Unique third-party partnerships with ‘Journey Generators’, starting first with employment agencies.

Space Added Value

The real-time location of our users and drivers is integral to our service and is made possible by GNSS technologies. We will rely on the location-based services of consumer level smartphones and tablets to report the precise location of our users.

Location services are integral to the overall user experience and our ability to operate an efficient service at scale.

Location data facilitates the following service features:

  1. Route-matching: our route-matching algorithm will group riders heading in the same direction at similar times in a shared taxi. The algorithm will only match riders if the increased journey time and detours required are not above a certain threshold that would make for an unacceptable end-user experience. Accurate location data is essential for this algorithm to operate.
  2. Rider pickups: Our rider and driver apps will use real-time location data to orchestrate pickups of matched riders. As there will be multiple pickups for each ride, this process needs to be quick and efficient so it doesn’t delay other riders’ journeys. We will alert a rider when their vehicle is approaching and when it has arrived at the pickup point. Both riders and drivers will use the app to view each other’s location.
  3. Driver navigation: Drivers will use satellite navigation to guide them to pickup points, and then onto their destination. The routing will be dynamic and will adapt as additional riders are matched onto the route.

Current Status

We’re pleased to continue strong operational progress in our primary site of Wellingborough and surrounding areas in Northamptonshire, with a recent 40% month on month increase in passenger journey volumes. We are identifying potential options for our next UK pilot site (to be launched in Q4) to expand our operational coverage. We would welcome any inbound interest from stakeholders (e.g. employment agencies, employers, local government authorities) who might benefit from Tandem’s transport services.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 20 October 2020 - Created: 21 August 2020