On-demand bus trialling at Warwick University - The Coventry Observer

7th Aug, 2022

On-demand bus trialling at Warwick University

A NEW ‘On-Demand’ sustainable bus service is being launched in April between the University of Warwick campuses in Coventry.

The service for staff, students and the local community, is being trialled for the first time in the region as part of the Future Mobility Showcase – a two-year partnership between Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the University of Warwick to pilot innovative transport modes and technology designed to reduce private car use.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, said: “This is a pioneering new type of bus services which uses the latest app technology to offer a bus where you want it and at the right time within the zone, rather than restricted to set routes and timetables. It is just the kind of innovation we in the West Midlands are famed for.

“We are piloting these new services for those commuting between the University of Warwick campuses – but if successful and sustainable we will look at expanding it to other areas across the West Midlands.”

The West Midlands On Demand service offers the convenience of a taxi but with the environmental benefits of a traditional bus service helping to reduce car use and traffic congestion.

Powered by an app to coordinate routes and journeys based on customer demand it will offer a pick up and drop off service in an area of travel. To book a journey, passengers download the Bus On-Demand app (powered by Via) , which allows them to request a pick up from a virtual bus stop.

Journeys will be booked through the Via’s mobile app and the advanced algorithms will enable multiple riders to share the vehicle. The technology will direct passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.

The trial aims to explore how an on-demand service works in Coventry in a post-Covid  environment.

Coventry City Council is keen to support the roll out of the on-demand bus service at the University of Warwick. Coun Jim O’Boyle said: “We have a real opportunity to test out and trial a number of transport options for the future. The city has innovation at its heart and this will be another opportunity to understand how transport solutions work in real situations.

“The coronavirus outbreak creates its own challenges but it’s important we continue to look at these types of schemes in more detail. The University of Warwick is an ideal location to test out this project.”

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