Demand responsive services (DRT) are seen as a cure for high-cost bus services in low-demand areas. DRT services cover a wide spectrum and international experience shows mixed success. In 2009/10 Booz and Company investigated DRT services to understand common success and failures. An international literature review was conducted, as well as assessing three New Zealand/Australian case studies as follows:
DRT services have been used in areas with street patterns that cannot be efficiently navigated by foot or by bus and prove to be inherently more expensive to serve than multimodal networks. The conflicting objectives of service efficiency and coverage can be balanced by serving areas where demand is concentrated, by limiting the service area and by reducing flexibility as demand increases. Providing DRT services to commuters, schoolchildren and shoppers caters for most journey purposes. Many-to-one DRT service operations are more successful than many-to-many DRT services. Limited stop services are more successful than hail and ride or door-to-door services. DRT services have a role to play within New Zealand by adopting best practices of successful services and avoiding common pitfalls.