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Will Hoppin be the key to more efficient and user-friendly public transport in Limburg?

From January 6, 2024, public transport in the Limburg Transport Region will undergo a major change. The implementation of Hoppin, which should be a groundbreaking initiative by the Flemish government, will then focus on increasing the efficiency and accessibility of the regional transport network. The initiative, which results from intensive collaboration between De Lijn and local authorities, promises a seamless integration of traditional and flexible transport modes.

The adjustments to the transport network include not only optimization of existing routes, but also the introduction of new lines, such as lines X18 and X19. These express lines will provide a more frequent and faster connection between major urban centers in the region. The network will also be expanded with more frequent services on existing routes, such as line 23, which improves the connection between Tongeren, Borgloon and Sint-Truiden.

Another innovative aspect of Hoppin is the restructuring of the line number system, which simplifies navigation within the network. The new numbering is designed to quickly identify the frequency and type of service a line provides. This makes it easier for travelers to choose the most suitable travel option.

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Photo: De Lijn - Belbus

De Lijn Flex will replace the familiar call bus in many places. In addition, De Lijn is also significantly expanding flex transport and you will now also be able to count on the flex bus in many additional municipalities where no dial-a-bus service previously operated. In addition, the hours during which the flex bus operates are being expanded in many regions.

The introduction of Hoppin is a crucial part of the Flemish strategy to create a demand-oriented, efficient and sustainable transport system. The concept integrates various forms of mobility, including train, tram, bus, bicycle sharing and flexible transport, to provide a complete and efficient travel experience. This makes important attraction points, such as hospitals, more accessible.

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De Lijn and the Department of Mobility and Public Works are joining forces for more sustainable, reliable and flexible travel in Flanders. Supply and demand are better matched. There will be faster, more reliable and more frequent buses and trams on busy routes. And in places where there is less demand for fixed public transport, it offers The Line Flex possibly a solution.

hoppin

One of the key aspects of hoppin is the integration of different modes of transport. It combines traditional options such as trains, trams and buses with flexible services such as sharing systems (shared cars and shared bicycles), taxis and the new flexible transport. This approach allows travelers to plan and execute their entire journey – from start to finish – using a combination of different modes of transport. This makes it possible to travel more efficiently, especially on routes where direct connections are lacking or where regular public transport is insufficient.

Hoppin is also aimed at improving the accessibility of important attractions such as hospitals, schools and industrial estates. By providing better connectivity and frequency to these locations, Hoppin makes essential services and employment more accessible to a wider audience.

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Elderly people often depend on public transport for essential trips such as medical appointments or shopping. Hoppin must therefore provide reliable and regular services that meet the specific needs and routines of older travelers.

Another key element of Hoppin is the use of technology to improve the user experience. Apps and online platforms make it easy for travelers to plan routes, reserve transportation, and get information about fares and schedules. These digital tools contribute to a seamless and integrated travel experience.

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The question of whether older people can handle Hoppin well is important, given the growing aging population and the need for accessible public transport for all age groups. Hoppin was designed with accessibility and ease of use in mind, but there are some aspects that require special attention when it comes to older users.

One of the core aspects of Hoppin is the integration of technology, such as mobile apps and online reservation systems. While these technologies make booking travel and obtaining information easier, it can be a challenge for some older adults, especially if they are unfamiliar with smartphones or the Internet. This requires additional support and alternative access routes, such as telephone reservation systems and personal assistance at stations or stops.

accessibility

The physical accessibility of the Hoppin system is another crucial element. Vehicles and stops should be designed to be easily accessible to older people, including those with reduced mobility. This includes features such as low floors on buses, clear signage, and adequate seating at stations and in vehicles.

In addition, it is important that elderly people become familiar with the new system. This can be achieved through targeted information sessions, manuals and helplines specifically for older users. Collaboration with local communities, senior organizations and healthcare institutions can play a key role in this.

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