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Transporting Communities

fflecsi is a flexible bus service developed by Transport for Wales. The concept helps passengers in rural and urban areas of Wales to access transport when and where they need to. fflecsi is a pilot service from Transport for Wales that helps people make local journeys across several locations in Wales. The on-demand service runs alongside normal bus services and gives people in rural areas, where buses are irregular and limited, an opportunity to use public transport again. Although fflecsi has a fixed start and end in some of its areas, passengers are able to create and book their own journeys in advance. Rather than passengers waiting at a bus stop for a bus to turn up, fflecsi has a fixed schedule of trips and routes to choose from, whilst providing passengers with the flexibility to select a pick-up and drop-off time and place that is convenient for them.

The concept involves commuters using a website or an app to book a pick-up and drop-off point on a collection of travel schedules available in their area. fflecsi enables users to be picked up as near to their house as possible.

Offering a ‘Flexible way to travel’

fflecsi buses pick passengers up and drop them off in the service area, not just at a bus stop. The way fflecsi works is that a bus picks you up at your request, changing its route so that all passengers can get to where they need to go. fflecsi helps people to make local journeys, especially where transport in rural areas is limited. fflecsi is also a more sustainable and economical way to travel, as buses will only run if passengers are booked on to the trip. Once bus operators know how many passengers to pick up, they can make sure they send the correct size vehicle on the route. Transport for Wales wanted to create a small website integrated with existing scheduled bus routes but enabled passengers to use an ondemand service – that is where the Spindogs team stepped in.

Mapping the user journey

We kicked off the project with several discussions with Transport for Wales. To design and develop a website that worked for all communities where the fflecsi bus service would operate, we needed to understand each local authority’s requirements. We held a workshop with stakeholders from across Transport for Wales, as well as local authorities and bus operators, to understand their local needs and what the user journeys on the website would look like for people in their area. The website had to serve different types of customers. Transport for Wales wanted to encourage all commuter types to use fflecsi. From young people who want to travel to the nearest time and place to meet their friends to elderly passengers who need to be dropped off as close to their destination as possible, be it the doctors or the local shop. We had to consider all types of users to ensure they all had the same experience on the website and could book a trip with ease.

Designing the journeys was pretty simple. We were mindful that not all of fflecsi’s users would be computer literate, so we had to make sure that the website was easy enough for everyone at all levels to use and be able to book a bus. We made sure that we implemented a basic design with simple language and instructions. We used strong calls to action (CTAs) to guide the user through finding trips, browsing locations and booking their journeys. To make it as easy as possible, we designed a search bar on the homepage so that users were encouraged to find trips and browse locations from the get-go. We needed to integrate the website with existing bus routes and schedules from local bus operators across Wales. Also, some local authorities had their own systems or used different software, so we had to consider these and integrate the new website.

Taking it on the road

The result? We created an easy-to-use website that enabled individuals around Wales to plan and book their journeys at times, pick-ups and dropoffs at their request. The simple user journey and minimal design make it easy for users to find a location, book a trip, receive confirmation and follow live updates of their journey. Not only has the Spindogs team created an accessible website, but it’s also mobile responsive, which means that users can book their trip from anywhere, on any device. There’s also an option to download an app to use fflecsi on the go. Head to the fflecsi website to find out more about the service.

Design Highlights

  • A search bar on the homepage – Created an easy-to-use search bar so that users can find trips as soon as they land on the homepage.
  • Clear CTAs – Designed a set of clear CTAs to guide users through the website and make the journey of finding and booking a trip as smooth as possible.
  • Questions in an accordion bar – Designed an accordion for questions to sit nicely on the web page on both mobile and desktop
  • Mobile-friendly website – Developed a mobile-friendly website and clear user journeys, so that the user can seamlessly book a trip. The app was developed by a third-party company.

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