An on-demand mini-bus sharing scheme is to be launched in Oxford by Go-Ahead subsidiary, the Oxford Bus Company.
The service, branded PickMeUp, will cover the city centre and the city’s ‘Eastern Arc’, a major employment area.
Passengers will use an app to book a pick-up from ‘virtual bus stops’. The app and back office system has been developed by US firm Via, which operates ride-sharing services in New York, Chicago, and Washington DC.
The service will launch on 25 June. Operating hours will be 0630-2230 Mondays-Fridays and 0900-2000 at weekends. The expected average response time is ten minutes.
An introductory fare of £2.50 per journey will be charged, with a surcharge of £2.50 if the journey could be made via an existing bus route. Multi-journey passes will be available, as well as corporate packages.
Oxford Bus Company has invested £850,000 in six 17-seat ultra-low emission Euro 6 minibuses for the service.
The scheme has an operating area of 12.2 square miles, which encompasses the city’s main railway station, Thornhill and Redbridge park-and-ride sites, Oxford Science Park, Oxford Business Park, the John Radcliffe Hospital, University Science Area and Oxford Brookes University.
Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company managing director, said: “Though we have great bus links to and from the city centre from the Eastern Arc, for some time now connectivity has been a challenge for routes across the east of the city, and we believe our new service will help where traditional bus routes do not work commercially.”
l Innovation in Oxfordshire – feature
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