New app makes it easier for residents and visitors to find travel options in the Highlands and islands
A new app will make it easier for residents and visitors to the Highlands and islands to find and book public transport, car sharing and cycling across the region.
The GO-HI app, launched by the regional transport partnership HITRANS in partnership with vehicle hire company Fleetondemand, provides instant access to information on buses, trains, taxis, car hire, car clubs, bike hire, air travel and ferries.
This allows users to plan their journeys and find, book and pay for all modes of transport in one place using any iPhone or Android mobile device.
GO-HI is powered by Fleetondemand’s Mobilleo mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) platform.
It is being funded by the EU North Sea Region Stronger Combined project and the Scottish Government’s MaaS Investment Fund.
Other partners include Enterprise Car Club and Car Hire, Bewegen, Brompton Bike Hire, Stagecoach Bus, West Coast Motors, Inverness Taxis, ScotRail, Loganair, Shotl, Skedgo, Orkney Ferries and Northlink Ferries.
MaaS is the integration of various forms of transport into a single application and single payment channel instead of users having to access separate websites and ticketing operations.
The MaaS Investment Fund has been established to test the concept of MaaS in Scotland, with the aim of developing digital solutions to encourage a shift to public transport and active travel, which will support the Scottish Government’s aspirations around lowering carbon emissions, improving health and growing digital innovation in Scotland.
Minister for transport Graeme Dey said: “The Scottish Government sees great potential in the future of mobility as a service and a real opportunity for Scotland to be at the forefront of developments.
“That’s why in 2018, our programme for government committed to establish the MaaS Investment Fund.
“Much has changed since 2018, but as we think about the urgent need for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential of MaaS solutions in Scottish transport is perhaps more important than ever before.
“MaaS applications can directly support our vision for a more sustainable transport system as outlined in our National Transport Strategy, in addition to the bold commitments we’ve made through our updated Climate Change Plan.
“By creating new partnerships between the public and private sectors to focus on collaborative solutions to complex transport problems, I’m excited to see how GO-HI transforms the travel experience for residents and visitors to the Highlands and Islands.”
Chair of HITRANS Councillor Allan Henderson said: “This pioneering project provides a one-stop shop for all travel needs, combining a journey planner with real-time travel information, tickets and payment options, allowing integration of bus, rail, flight, bike, car club, demand responsive transport (DRT), car rental and taxi operators across the Highlands.
“It is an ambitious region-wide solution that has the potential to make a significant contribution to improve accessibility for residents and visitors.
“It also addresses government ambitions to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging a modal shift from sole occupancy cars to shared cars and public transport alternatives.
“It will also help to create healthier lifestyles by improving the sustainable travel choices people can make in the region including active travel opportunities.”
Ross Basnett, strategic account director at Fleetondemand, said: “We’ve been working closely with HITRANS to tailor a solution that addresses the mobility challenges faced by residents and tourists in one of Scotland’s most rural and sparsely populated areas.
“The GO-HI app brings together the various transport services in the area, allowing easier access to travel information, more reliable journey planning, in-app ticketing and a hassle-free payment system.
“These improvements should give people the confidence to use public transport and reduce the feeling of isolation among those without access to a car.”