ArrivaClick is an on-demand minibus service that takes multiple passengers heading in the same direction and books them on a shared vehicle, with the aim of tackling air quality issues and congestion. Enabling people to move out of private cars with the offer of convenient and comfortable shared journeys is a key driver for the project.
ArrivaClick in Liverpool will become operational later in the summer. There are no fixed routes, with journeys determined by where passengers want to go within an area running from the city centre to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
'We are launching in response to changing passenger needs, driven by lifestyle changes and the uptake of technology. We think people expect to have more direct control over their mobility,' says Alistair Hands, commercial director, UK bus, Arriva Group. 'ArrivaClick will complement existing bus services in the city, and we have big ambitions to make this flexible, responsive service available for thousands more journeys.'
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, welcomes the new service: 'I’m delighted that ArrivaClick will be expanding to Liverpool. I’m committed to making the Liverpool City Region more connected and accessible with quality infrastructure. Delivering great public transport services plays a key role in that. People’s lifestyles and expectations are changing, and we need to continue to modernise and renew our transport network to meet those needs.
'At the same time, we must be mindful of the impact pollution and congestion has on the city. That means thinking more creatively and providing innovative services that deliver tangible benefits for both passengers and the environment.'
His welcome is echoed by Matt Goggins, Head of Bus at Merseytravel: 'Our number one aim is to get people out of their cars and onto public transport, so the more options available to help people to do this, the better. We know Liverpool is a huge tourist destination - the visitor economy alone is worth £4.27bn and growing rapidly – so a huge focus for us is making sure people can get in and out of Liverpool John Lennon airport easily, whether that’s for work or leisure.'
The city centre is the other key pull for passengers, he adds. One-third of those accessing the city get there by bus, he notes, so he hopes to encourage the other two-thirds to get there more sustainably using ArrivaClick. 'The positives of giving passengers more choice outweighs any potential doubts about negative impacts on the commercial bus network,’ he adds. 'ArrivaClick is an Arriva commercial service and will complement the existing network. There are very few case studies of these types of services in the UK, and we are really pleased to have the opportunity to try out the largest commercial operation in the DRT space.'
Arriva is confident that the new service will bring benefits, says Hands: 'In the Sittingbourne pilot project, we found that 80 per cent of all passengers had transferred from modes other than bus, which could have been private car, single-use taxi or others.' He is also positive about service viability. 'We understand, from the Sittingbourne pilot, the levels of fares and pricing that we think will make this service economically viable over the long term. This is especially true as ArrivaClick can offer a range of options that suits the needs of all passengers, which we will also explore during this project.'
The bus sector in the Liverpool City Region is one that Arriva understands well. 'Arriva runs about 60 per cent of bus services in Merseyside, so one of the reasons we have chosen the Liverpool City Region for this project is to learn how this system integrates with, and is complementary to, existing services,' says Hands. 'We are getting a new tool in our network planning armoury, enabling us to learn about how people use new services that may not be viable using a standard bus, given the time of day or the nature of that particular journey.'
Hands continues: 'Liverpool City Region has developed a very successful Bus Alliance which encourages key operators to work collaboratively, but in no way negates healthy competition and market innovation. As innovators, we've decided the time is right to offer ArrivaClick there. ' Goggins agrees. 'It's a reflection on us as an authority that we are the kind of people that business can do business with,' he says. 'We are not at all adversarial in our approach to public transport operators. Our focus is not on ownership models or ideology, it's about delivering bus services that put passengers at the heart of everything we do.'
Steve Rotheram, Alistair Hands and Matt Goggins will all be speaking at Smarter Travel LIVE! In October
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