The pilot of the West Midlands On Demand bus-to-order service in Coventry is being expanded after the council said it proved a success with passengers.
For the first time, Transport for West Midlands is also introducing concession pricing for the scheme, with qualifying riders able to travel for half price.
The buses can be booked via the smartphone app or telephone to pick up passengers for any chosen journey within the zone. The service’s technology is powered by Via, which uses algorithms to create quick and efficient shared trips by pooling multiple passengers headed in the same direction into a single bus in real time.
Launched around the University of Warwick Campus and south-west Coventry last spring the service currently covers Kenilworth, Balsall Common and Meriden. More than 7,500 rides have been taken.
Now the buses are able to pick up and drop off in a wider area also covering the city centre, Walsgrave and the University Hospital, and Binley.
The pilot service was launched by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) as part of the Future Mobility Zone/Showcase scheme to test innovative transport services and technology aimed at reducing private car use and traffic congestion on our streets.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said, “Using the latest app technology to free buses from fixed routes and stops is just the kind of innovation we are famed for in the West Midlands. It is part of our plans to offer convenient and affordable alternatives to the car as we look to reduce congestion and address the climate change emergency.
“The service has proved particularly popular for those whose journeys do not follow main routes. This success is why, with our partners, we are expanding the zone covered to include the hospital and city centre as well as increasing the number of WM On Demand buses available to passengers.”
West Midlands On Demand is run by bus operator Coachscanner, powered by software from Via, and backed with funding from TfWM, Coventry City Council and the University of Warwick.
(Picture – Coventry City Council showing Cllr Jim O’Boyle (Coventry City Council), West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and WM On Demand driver Talvir Grewal launching the service last year)