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PickMeUp beats expectations in its
first 10 days on the road

By The Whisperer

With many years in the coach and bus industry, The Whisperer keeps his ear to the ground for all the latest tit-bits and gossip. Tell him what’s going on in your part of the world: e-mail him via

Go-Ahead’s on-demand bus service - PickMeUp - has got off to a flying start in Oxford, exceeding initial expectations. 

Almost 2,500 people have signed up to use the largest scheme of its kind to be operated by a UK bus company.

PickMeUp 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.

More than 1,500 journeys have taken place in the first 10 days, ahead of budgeted numbers.

Launch by Go-Ahead subsidiary Oxford Bus Company: Phil Southall Managing Director (left) and Luke Marion, Finance and Commercial Director

The service uses six minibuses costing around £100,000 each in a project that has seen an £850,000 investment.

Oxford Bus Company MD Phil Southall says: “We’re delighted with the initial reception to this service, which underlines latent demand for buses that people can summon on demand.

“We knew from our research that people are looking for a swift, convenient affordable alternative to cars, which offers more flexibility than a traditional bus.

“This is a new idea in transport, using the very latest mapping and co-ordination technology, and it’s got the potential to be part of the solution in tackling air quality and traffic congestion in many towns and cities.”

The service covers the Eastern Arc of Oxford, covering the railway station, Thornhill and Redbridge Park & Ride sites, the Science Park, Oxford Business Park, the John Radcliffe, Churchill and NOC hospitals, University Science Area and Brookes University. 

It operates between 6.00am and 11.00pm Monday to Friday and between 80.3am and 7.30pm at weekends, with an average response time of around 10 minutes.

An introductory fare of £2.50 per journey is being charged, with a surcharge of £2.50 if the journey could be made via an existing Oxford Bus Company bus route and the walk is 200 metres or less. Multi-journey passes are available as well as corporate packages.

Oxford Bus Company have invested £850,000 in six 17-seat ultra-low emission Euro 6 minibuses, with Wi-Fi, USB charging points, wheelchair access and comfortable high-back seating to launch the service.

The front-end and back-end technology for the service was developed in partnership with Via, a US based marketing leader in ride-sharing technology.

The app enables passengers to request a pick up and the mini-bus will go to the nearest safe pick up point. Journeys will be matched with others wishing to make similar journeys to enable ride sharing.