How on-demand transport “brings life back to rural areas”

“Hello, it’s for booking on Wednesday. I would like to go to the health point in Saint-Geosmes. I live in Montigny-le-Roi, place de Verdun. Can you pick me up? This is the type of call that Linggo, the on-demand transport service in the Langres region, can receive.

The third city of Haute-Marne set it up “thirteen or fourteen years ago, I don’t know anymore”, laughs Sylvie Baudot, third vice-president of a territorial and rural balance center (PETR ) which has 47,000 inhabitants. All distributed in… 168 municipalities over 2,276 m². Welcome to rural territory where villages sometimes struggle to reach twenty souls. And where you sometimes have to travel miles to see a doctor or do your shopping.

In these conditions, isolation can quickly be felt. Unless, perhaps, easy mobility? This is the very essence of Linggo. “We didn’t invent hot water, we were just inspired by what we had seen elsewhere, in Baume-les-Dames [Doubs] at the time. While we had regular bus lines which cost us a lot to drive often empty, ”continues the elected official, also mayor of Cohons.

The principle of this on-demand transport service is quite simple and was spotted by the French Federation of things that work*. Users must first reserve the day before noon, either by phone or via the Internet. Then, depending on needs, “light, 5 to 9-seater vehicles, which are reserved from private companies” are chartered. Not to go anywhere and anytime. These are not taxis! The drivers will certainly pick up customers at home but then drop them off at points of interest identified on specific days: the hospital or the commercial area on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons as well as Thursday and Friday mornings, the market de Chalindrey on Thursday mornings, Culmont-Chalindrey station every day, etc.

Very advantageous rates

“Since September 1, we have even added town centers to the possible destinations,” adds Sylvie Baudot. For example, residents who live in small surrounding towns can go to their capital, such as Bourbonne-les-Bains, Montigny, Longeot and elsewhere. “Each time for a very advantageous price: 2.50 euros per trip in this case, 4 euros maximum. For all, without income criteria.

“In our town, between seven and ten people use Linggo, testifies Bernard Frison, the city councilor of Champsevraine (770 inhabitants divided between Corgirnon and Bussières-lès-Belmont). We must not lie to each other, they are mostly elderly people, alone, especially ladies. “According to her colleague from Cohons, the system would also be used by” families because having a second car is financially complicated, and teenagers who see it as a possibility of freedom. »

“We send a vehicle where there are needs”

Sylvie Baudot assures us: minibuses “very rarely” travel with only one person on board. What makes Linggo a profitable tool? Far from it, public service obliges, but not so loss-making. “I can’t give a figure but the regular lines put us much more in the red. There, the ticket office makes it possible to finance 10% of the budget, the three communities of municipalities provide 40% and the rest comes from the Grand-Est region. »

A cost, of course, but with real advantages for its users. “People no longer wait under a bus shelter, we pick them up at home and we send a vehicle to where there are needs. Many tell us “fortunately you are here” and links are sometimes created inside, “says the third vice-president of the PETR of the Pays de Langres. “This kind of service brings rural areas back to life,” concludes Bernard Frison.

* The French Federation of Stuff that Works is having its launch party this Tuesday at the Théâtre de la Madeleine with six mayors on stage to explain their initiative and convince other elected officials to implement it in their community.

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