The Valleihopper, a door-to-door public transport service in areas with limited public transport options, faces an uncertain future due to announced contract changes. The current service agreements, which expire at the end of 2024, may not be renewed by the board as per a message from the Rhine Post turns out. However, this message seems to be in stark contrast to the customer satisfaction survey that was conducted earlier this year. The news that carrier Van Driel prefers not to continue its contract with Valleihopper points to possible changes in how the service is offered in the future.
To ensure the future of the Valleihopper, a project plan has been drawn up for concluding new contracts. This is a response to both the need for quality improvement and to financial management measures from the municipalities that contribute to the financing of the service. The decrease in use, partly caused by concerns about one's own health, has increased the pressure on the Valleihopper to work more efficiently, despite the expectation that costs will rise.
The community relies on the Valleihopper for social-recreational transportation, especially when restrictions prevent residents from traveling independently. However, the service, which offers rides to pass holders and at a reduced rate with a WMO taxi pass, is experiencing a declining number of passengers. In view of the growing costs and upcoming contract renewals, the municipalities in the Foodvalley region will have to make strategic decisions to keep the Valleihopper affordable and accessible for the residents who depend on it.
In the 2nd quarter of 2023, a Customer Satisfaction Survey (KTO) was conducted among Valleihopper travelers. Here is also examined why pass holders use Valleihopper less. Valleihopper pass holders in Ede and the surrounding area rate their transport service on average at 7,6, a score that reflects the general satisfaction among users.
This appreciation arises from various aspects of the service. The safety and driving style of the drivers, pick-up and drop-off, and communication are positively assessed. A convincing majority of passengers, approximately three-quarters, are positive about the punctuality of the service. During the booking process, the customer friendliness of the staff and the handling of the reservation are appreciated by 85% of users, and the speed with which calls are answered by 77%. This indicates a strong appreciation for the interaction with staff and the efficiency of the system.
The role of the Valleihopper as a facilitator of independence and social contact for its pass holders is a crucial aspect of the service. It enables them to remain mobile and participate in social life beyond the boundaries of their immediate living environment. However, users also indicate room for improvement, such as punctuality, reliability of the rides, and the accessibility of the vehicles with regard to boarding.
To improve service, pass holders propose expanding the 25 km zone, simplifying trip cancellations, and improving communication in the event of delays. They also suggest improvements to the physical aspects of the service, such as more comfortable vans and better boarding.
With this feedback, Valleihopper can develop strategies to refine the service, which can contribute to higher satisfaction scores and a greater reach of the service. It is clear that the Valleihopper is valued for its contribution to the quality of life of its users and that any improvements will have a direct positive effect on their daily lives.