Discussion:
TfL demand-responsive bus trial
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David Cantrell
2019-02-21 11:41:46 UTC
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This showed up in my mailbox today:
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/demand-responsive-bus-trial/

It seems like an idea that is definitely worth trying, a sort of half
way house between normal buses and taxis. If it was available in any
part of London that I ever visit I'd give it a go.
--
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Roland Perry
2019-02-21 12:02:13 UTC
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Post by David Cantrell
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/demand-responsive-bus-trial/
It seems like an idea that is definitely worth trying, a sort of half
way house between normal buses and taxis. If it was available in any
part of London that I ever visit I'd give it a go.
It's a perennial item. One operator (I forget which) had a trial in
London about 8-10yrs ago, which presumably flopped.

On the other hand, several USA cities have had such services (mainly
aimed at the airport run) for a generation.

What I'm not sure about in this Sutton trial is whether both ends of
people's trips have to be within the mapped area, which is really quite
small. Or do they just have to live there, with routes extending into
other boroughs.
--
Roland Perry
Ian Clifton
2019-02-21 15:32:14 UTC
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Post by Roland Perry
Post by David Cantrell
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/demand-responsive-bus-trial/
It seems like an idea that is definitely worth trying, a sort of half
way house between normal buses and taxis. If it was available in any
part of London that I ever visit I'd give it a go.
It's a perennial item. One operator (I forget which) had a trial in
London about 8-10yrs ago, which presumably flopped.
On the other hand, several USA cities have had such services (mainly
aimed at the airport run) for a generation.
What I'm not sure about in this Sutton trial is whether both ends of
people's trips have to be within the mapped area, which is really
quite small. Or do they just have to live there, with routes extending
into other boroughs.
The Oxford “PickMeUp” service, briefly mentioned in the TfL report, has
been going for some time, and the little busses have become quite
familiar. I haven’t tried it yet though—mainly because I already pay for
a card that gives me unlimited travel on the conventional bus network,
so I’d be paying again, in effect. I guess as it says in the TfL report:

The key target markets for the service are those who usually use their
car and who are not, for various reasons, using conventional public
transport, walking or cycling.
--
Ian ◎
BirchangerKen
2019-02-22 07:21:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Cantrell
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/demand-responsive-bus-trial/
It seems like an idea that is definitely worth trying, a sort of half
way house between normal buses and taxis. If it was available in any
part of London that I ever visit I'd give it a go.
It's been going for a while in Essex, in some of the more rural
districts. See
https://www.essexhighways.org/getting-around/bus/accessible-transport/demand-responsive-transport-dart.aspx.

I attend a local transport forum and we're told that ridership has
grown faster than expected. That surprised me as I'd thought that
having to decide in advance that you wish to get the bus would deter
people. But if the demand-responsive service is only replacing a bus
that runs, say, once per day then I suppose spontenaity isn't really a
factor.
Roland Perry
2019-02-22 08:06:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by BirchangerKen
Post by David Cantrell
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/demand-responsive-bus-trial/
It seems like an idea that is definitely worth trying, a sort of half
way house between normal buses and taxis. If it was available in any
part of London that I ever visit I'd give it a go.
It's been going for a while in Essex, in some of the more rural
districts. See
https://www.essexhighways.org/getting-around/bus/accessible-transport/demand-responsive-transport-dart.aspx.
That's a different animal - a community minibus scheme. Not the local
bus company operating a different style of bus.

We have a similar scheme to the Essex one in Cambs and I'd be surprised
if it wasn't quite widespread.

Reading the leaflet above, and despite their protestations, it's much
more like a shared-taxi scheme than an on-demand bus, anyway. They won't
run it if there aren't a minimum number of passengers. A proper
on-demand bus must be prepared to run with just one passenger, else it
becomes unpredictable.

The TfL one isn't going to require bookings 2hrs in advance, either.
They quote an estimated average of 10 minutes.
Post by BirchangerKen
I attend a local transport forum and we're told that ridership has
grown faster than expected. That surprised me as I'd thought that
having to decide in advance that you wish to get the bus would deter
people. But if the demand-responsive service is only replacing a bus
that runs, say, once per day then I suppose spontenaity isn't really a
factor.
Key to the TfL scheme is that it must demonstrate that it delivers a
modal shift from cars to bus. The community minibus schemes are largely
for people without access to a car. Given that the community minibus is
the only transport they are likely to be able to get (other than a taxi
at perhaps 5x the fare) it's not surprising they are popular.

Note, however, that they tend to be subsidised by a mixture of hard cash
(from the Local Authority) and volunteer time. I'd expect TfL's buses to
need to be sustainably self-funding.
--
Roland Perry
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