BRIDJ On Demand public transport trial arrives in Sydney's Inner East

From August 20, as part of a trial of On Demand Public Transport, in conjunction with TfNSW, BRIDJ will be introducing services designed to connect local residents, as well as local and international visitors, between the Bondi area and Rose Bay Ferry.

BRIDJ General Manager John Langford-Ely said the trial will offer faster and more convenient public transport connections to and from the Sydney Ferry network.  

“On weekdays, residents throughout Bondi, North Bondi and Dover Heights will be able to connect to and from the Rose Bay ferry in peak times more conveniently than ever before. From Rose Bay wharf, customers will be able to travel anywhere on the Sydney Ferry Network, including Circular Quay, Barangaroo and North Sydney, with travel times often significantly shorter relative to their current options.

“On weekends, we will deliver local and international visitors with all day connections to and from the Bondi area and Rose Bay ferry and areas in between. After taking in the beauty of Sydney Harbour, it’s an amazing combined travel experience for visitors to Bondi.

“We are excited to deliver the trial into an area where it can fill a gap and operate cohesively with services already available, by better connecting commuters and tourists with existing public transport networks,” he said.

The trials are conducted in conjunction with Transport for NSW, and commuters can simply download the BRIDJ app via the App Store or Google Play, book a dedicated seat using OpalPay or Credit Card and enjoy free wifi on board one of the BRIDJ 16 seater mini- buses. The cost of a one-way journey being $3.10, or $1.50 for concession card holders.

“We are excited to arrive in Rose Bay and have estimated some travel time savings of up to 30 minutes into major hubs, such as Circular Quay – especially relevant when you consider there is no traffic on the water and the bonus is the scenery. Customers can also enjoy a fully connected experience, with customers able to pay using their Opal Cards and able to use free Wi-Fi on both BRIDJ buses and the Sydney Ferries.”

Langford-Ely said BRIDJ is a service that will grow and evolve with feedback and input from the community.

“We are learning so much through the on demand trials. The trials add valuable data and feedback to the network planning and enable a continuous improvement of services. We are continually developing our technology to become even more intuitive and responsive to what commuters want in different locations.”

“We will continue to work with the Government to develop an on demand public bus solution that people want to use and is sustainable. We encourage commuters to submit feedback so we can continually improve.”

The BRIDJ technology uses data to route in real time, subscribing to a demand responsive model that works on passenger clustering for streamlined pick up and drop off points - the program can even re-route to actively avoid congestion when possible.

Local residents and visitors can keep an eye out for BRIDJ buses from mid-August as a series of pop up events occur, to showcase the service to the community ahead of its service commencement.

BRIDJ will operate weekday mornings from 06:00am – 09:00am; Weekdays afternoons from 3:00pm – 9:00pm; and weekends from 8:00am to 8.30pm.

Service highlights:

  • Getting to Circular Quay – save between 15 - 30 mins from the catchment zone vs public transport / taxi / car.
  • Getting to North Sydney – save between 10 - 20 mins from the catchment zone vs public transport / taxi / car.
  • Getting to Barangaroo – save up to 15 minutes when compared with public transport and save time and money versus driving your car and trying to find parking.
  • Easy connections to the Manly fast ferry weekend service (this service leaves from Rose Bay and takes 30 mins to Manly).

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Sydney on the move in real time,with BRIDJ on demand services integrated in Region 6 Bus Contract

Commuters in Sydney’s Inner West will be able to book a dedicated seat on a BRIDJ on demand bus service from 1 July 2018, with an initial five of the potential 32 micro buses entering the contract region on day one of the contract, better connecting customers with existing mass transit services in the region.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance today announced Transit Systems as the new operator of bus services in region 6, representing the best global example of a public transport contract that truly integrates both fixed route and on demand transit, using BRIDJ services.

BRIDJ, a subsidiary of Transit Systems, is a global leader in developing Demand Responsive Technology for ‘mass’ transportation, with a trial of on demand services already successfully underway in Western Sydney, with more than 1000 app downloads since it went live in Region 3, on 4 December 2017.

Leveraging its big data analytics software to better understand how customers ‘want’ to move in their city, the BRIDJ proprietary software optimises service delivery through dynamic routing, stopping and passenger clustering.

For 1 July 2018, BRIDJ’s first service in Canada Bay, Concord and Strathfield will commence, with a further 10 possible services set to follow throughout the five-year contract. BRIDJ General Manager, John Langford-Ely, said commuters will benefit from more flexible bus services that offer more convenience and better connectivity to the broader trunk public transport network.

“Having on demand services incorporated into a larger network plan is a game changer for how global cities approach the planning and delivery of their integrated transport networks. Over the course of the contract, BRIDJ will analyse how Sydney commuters use its services in order to better inform future planning decisions and how it further develops the technology.

“We will work with the NSW Government to enhance the mix of transport alternatives available to Sydney commuters and ensure right-sized services are offered to passengers where and when they want them” he said.

In taking this innovative approach, the Government has created an environment where the Sydney network can evolve to better serve the travel needs of Sydney commuters. It’s a progressive vision, befitting for one of the world’s most iconic cities.

“The BRIDJ technology will continually and dynamically optimise routes to meet customer needs in and around the catchment zones, with the aim of increasing service levels, reducing travel times and improving convenience,” he said.

BRIDJ will also collaborate with Transport for NSW to investigate the integration of its fare system with OpalPay, to ensure a seamless connection for customers between different public transport services.

Commuters can simply download the BRIDJ app and book a bus trip with a dedicated seat.

“Customers are able to track their vehicle’s arrival and their onward journey in real-time on their smartphone, while behind the scenes the BRIDJ technology optimises the route and drop off locations to avoid congestion when possible and take the shortest possible route to reduce customer journey times.

As part of the eight-year contract, the Government will continue to have regulatory oversight of the on demand services, fares and depots.

“This is an exciting time for commuters in Sydney, with a new and convenient public transport service that we hope will provide an attractive alternative to driving in order to help relieve congestion in the future” he said.

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Opinion Piece by John Langford-Ely

Tuk Tuk, Hitch Hike, Uber...BRIDJ

Our major cities are choking on congestion, population growth and pollution. In Australia, our population is expected to grow by 7.8 million, with 69.3% of Australians living in a capital city by 2031.

Better mass transportation, facilitated by smart technology, is going to play a critical role in the solution. Whether accessing employment, having a night out or visiting friends and family, better public transport can have a real impact on people’s lives. We know mobility is vital to social well-being, equality and our economic prosperity.  But the importance of affordable and convenient mobility is too often overlooked or taken for granted. The challenge is that the benefits are often indirect and hard to quantify.

Technology is rapidly changing how people live everyday, but it can take time and trials to work out the best way to leverage the technology available to us - to make the everyday easier. Take the sharing economy or the on demand revolution as examples. People are becoming more open to sharing their homes and services to make or save money (think Airbnb and Airtasker). Everything around us is available online and on demand, from movies and food, even doctors! The list is becoming seemingly endless as our daily chores and consumption requirements are made easier with internet access, automation and intelligent algorithms.

But can ‘on demand’ convenience optimise all areas of our life? Is everything best served ‘on demand’ or does this lead to unintended consequences? Talking about transport specifically, ridesharing operators like Uber have sent shock waves through the industry and their arrival has required governments to quickly rethink their policies. With an active database in excess of 40 million, Uber has reduced travel costs relative to taxis, enhanced booking convenience, allowed passengers to track their journey and generally provided a more friendly and comfortable experience. However, there have also been some understandable concerns, ranging from debate and tension around the employment conditions of drivers, safety of passengers and whether or not ridesharing has actually added to the congestion problem or not.

What is irrefutable is that a large proportion of the public are willing to embrace technological change if it delivers better service and convenience at an affordable cost. Only when public transit can compete in terms of convenience, reliability and comfort will we see people make positive changes to their travel habits, reducing congestion and pollution.

It means we are at a turning point. The public are increasingly ready to embrace technological change and governments are under increasing pressure to offer it.

This is happening at a time when there are all sorts of new and exciting technological advances being explored, from electric and autonomous vehicles to hyper loops! But there are also demand responsive bus services like BRIDJ that are here today, leveraging smart algorithms and big data to deliver more intelligent public transport.

So, the question we’ve been asking ourselves is can public transport be delivered efficiently as an on demand service?

Representing one of Australia’s leading traditional public transport operators, I believe that demand-driven public transport is possible, but to work, it may look different to what many might initially expect.

On demand transport as we have known it, involves door-to-door service of cars or SUVs. But the reality is that door-to-door on demand rideshare or carpooling services break down as soon you have more than a few passengers. Who wants to wait around as you zigzag through the suburb picking up multiple passengers from their home and dropping them off at their individual destinations? It might come slightly cheaper than a normal rideshare or taxi, but this is outweighed by the travel time penalty. That is not to say door-to-door services don’t have their part to play in the mix of mobility options. 

What we believe to be more effective, viable and convenient on a mass transport scale is what we  prefer to define as ‘demand responsive transport’ (DRT).

In dense cities like London it is feasible to flood the city with high frequency mass transit, but in Australia, the challenge is greater as we have large amounts of space, low population density and limited financial resources. Central to our DRT model is the concept of leveraging data intelligence to allocate resources more effectively –providing services right to where they are needed, and wanted.

DRT is designed to complement rather than compete with the existing public transport network. DRT can be used to fill coverage gaps, provide feeder services into high frequency trunk services, connect areas that have no direct links or to simply provide an alternative type of service that subsets of customers may prefer (and get out of their cars for!). We see DRT as one part of the broader mix of public transport options and we believe that an integrated approach to network planning can yield better customer and efficiency outcomes.

BRIDJ commenced offering a leading DRT service in Western Sydney in early December with the support of Transit Systems as part of a trial by Transport for NSW.

Passengers in Wetherill Park can simply use their smartphones to book, pay and track their journey in real time, all while enjoying a dedicated seat and soon, free wi-fi.

The trial sends a powerful signal that NSW is ready to embrace change that can lead to long-term, city-wide benefits. It puts Australia on par, or even ahead of, other major centres like London, Singapore and Los Angeles, where DRT is also being explored as an avenue to help their cities function better. BRIDJ has been learning and refining its offering ever since launching in the USA in 2014, and we will continue to do so now that we are in Sydney.

This is an exciting time for public transport in Australia and a much needed, and wanted, evolution for passengers.  In many areas of Australia, public transport is too rigid or slow to respond, causing people to still rely on their car to get to work or an interchange. There has to be a better way and I think demand responsive services will form part of the growth and evolution of our public transport network in this country, and abroad.


John Langford-Ely is the General Manager of BRIDJ, a demand responsive public transport company that is part of the Transit Systems Group.  Bridj was developed in Boston MA and complements Transit Systems operations across Australia, London and Singapore. BRIDJ, in partnering with Transit Systems, can draw on over 20 years of operating experience and industry relationships to help deliver reliable public transport services that Australian commuters want to catch, while maintaining affordability for Government.

Growth stats -            Uber source -


Simon Langford-Ely