On-demand minibuses operate in West London
The 12-month service in the borough of Ealing is tied to an app and ensures hassle free and personalized journey
- November 21, 2019 20:30
- Plamen Petrov
Technology in the digital age is enabling public transport vehicles to be more personalised and convenient, but not at the expense of affordability. On-demand bus services in the European Union and elsewhere are breaking new ground and changing our perception about travel.
One such example is Slide Ealing, a new ride sharing minibus service, operating in the west London borough of Ealing. The service is provided by Transport for London, bus company RATP and German technology firm MOIA. It does not follow a fixed route and picks passengers up from ‘flexible stops’, pairing customers with others who are travelling on similar journeys.
Routes can be tracked via an app, downloadable on Google Play or Apple Store. Passengers register with their email and phone number and simply enter the origin and destination of their trip. Rides can be booked using the app or via phone. Once a ride has been confirmed, the company promises waiting times for a bus of no longer than 10 minutes.
The service operates from 6am to 1am seven days a week with fixed fares of t £3.50 per ride and will be available for the next 12 months. Drivers are professionally trained and there is air- conditioning, guaranteed seat & space, and USB charging points in all vehicles.
The service aims to be socially inclusive, with Freedom Passes and the English National Concessionary pass accepted. The new minibuses can also accommodate wheelchair users and are considered fully accessible due to their sliding doors.
A viable alternative to private car usage
Ealing has been chosen for this research trial because of the relatively high numbers of private vehicles in the borough.
Data provided by Transport for London shows that 40 per cent of people living in the area use cars – private or hired – to get to work, and the transport authority believes an on-demand service could encourage people to switch to a more sustainable way of travelling.
The trial will also look to encourage Ealing residents to use public transport for the whole of their journey, linking locals with the proposed launch area’s 29 bus routes and 10 tube and rail stations.
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