More choice in coach travel: Sn-ap start up

12 October 2018

Passengers now have a bit more choice in ‘premium’ coach travel:

A new start up Sn-Ap has kicked off offering on demand coach travel. I saw one of their coaches on Blackfriars Bridge last week. All part of the new on demand services springing up in quite a few places. Will be very interested to see how passengers rate and use this.

The development of this service is of real interest to us as we prepare to publish our work with Heathrow Airport and the Department for Transport on why passengers do or don’t choose coach to get to the airport.

Choices like this are going to become much more of an issue as sustainable access to airports and major rail stations moves up the consumer agenda.

Air quality problems are not going away and more choice needs to be offered up if passengers are going to change travel habits that help contribute to congestion issues (that often frustrate the punctuality of public transport).

We all choose transport modes around how the four ‘C’s apply to us: cost, choice, convenience and control. If the car and personal taxi are to be challenged by other forms of shared transport there need to be significant wider changes to make other modes of transport the better choice.

When councils come up with schemes to increase the cost of town centre parking to drive down demand and congestion, businesses and campaigners often argue it will drive people away at a time when every effort is required to increase footfall. So it was heartening to read this week that in Poole bus patronage has risen and car parking ticket sales have fallen since charges were controversially increased in April 2017.

On a related theme, it was also encouraging to learn also this week that more than 30,000 journeys (made by over 12,000 registered users of the app) have been made on PickMeUp, the Oxford Bus Company’s ground-breaking on-demand ride-sharing service since it launched on June 25th.  This service – the largest scheme of its kind to be launched so far by a UK bus company – enables passengers in eastern Oxford to summon buses to pick them up on a street corner of their choice, to go to a bespoke destination. The average response time is currently around 10 to 15 minutes.


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