Oxford's new demand-responsive ridesharing service aims to ‘tempt people out of their cars’
Oxford Bus Company is to launch an Uber-style on-demand bus service, allowing passengers to request a pick up on any street corner in the east of the city.
Using a mobile phone app, developed with US-based Via, the PickMeUp service creates virtual bus stops that allows those within a 12.2 square mile area to request a bus within minutes.
It is being piloted on behalf of parent company Go-Ahead Group in a bid to reduce congestion and improve services in the east of the city.
It will operate across the Eastern Arc, covering the railway station, Thornhill and Redbridge Park & Ride sites, the Science Park, Oxford Business Park, the John Radcliffe Hospital, University Science Area and Brookes University.
And Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company MD, believes the new service “will help where traditional bus routes do not work commercially.”
PickMeUp will run between 0630-2230hrs, Monday to Friday, and between 0900-2000hrs on weekends, with an expected average response time of 10 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.
Oxford Bus Company has invested £850,000 in six 17-seat ultra-low emission Euro 6 minibuses, with wi-fi, USB charging points, wheelchair access and high-back seating to launch the service.
Go-Ahead Group Chief Executive David Brown says: “On a broader level, we firmly believe that ridesharing is part of the solution to congestion and pollution in our towns and cities.
“It’s essential that we provide services that will tempt people out of their cars and technology will be key to that challenge.”