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Meanwhile…buses on demand?

While we are currently focusing on helping rail passengers suffering chaotic services due to the timetable issue (read more on our work here), our work on bus, coach, tram and strategic roads goes on.

We’ve been keeping an eye on some interesting developments in demand-led travel.

The Oxford Bus Company is following in the footsteps of Arriva and others by launching an on-demand app-based bus service. From 25 June passengers in a 12-mile square area around Oxford can request a bus pickup. This will cover the railway station, park and rides sites, the science park, the John Radcliffe Hospital, the University Science Area and Brookes University.

06:30 to 23:00 on weekdays and from 09:00 to 20:00 at weekends with an expected average wait of 10 minutes. £2.50 introductory fare (but with a £2.50 surcharge ‘…if the journey could be made via an existing bus route’).

This could really help fill gaps in existing public transport service. Will be very interesting to see how this works in practice. I suppose getting people to download the app will be key. Our recent work on young people and bus showed the desire to simplify information sources and booking processes. I regularly use about five apps – I don’t want more hanging around sucking out energy!

Meanwhile, in another part of the woods, Virgin Trains has teamed up with Uber to provide a pre-booking service to get you home. Great way of making sure you can get home from the station – still seems a bit hit and miss if there will be a cab at a station and finding out is still not that easy!

I use Uber for those odd journeys around London where train or bus just don’t do it (or I cannot use my bike!). Setting aside what you may think about the citizen issues, Uber provides an outstanding consumer proposition. Great information, clear pricing (assuming you don’t get hit by surge pricing!), great drivers and clean cars. You can review the driver and journey and they can review you. One day booking all transport should and could be as easy as this.


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