A demand-responsive bus service operating in Oxford is set for expansion after enjoying greater than expected success.
The PickMeUp on-demand bus operation exceeded all expectations during its first nine months of operation and will now add more vehicles and additional staff.
More than 100,000 journeys have been made since launch in June 2018 with over 22,000 registered users signed up to the app and an average of 3,500 journeys now completed each week.
PickMeUp, managed by the Oxford Bus Company on behalf of the Go-Ahead Group, is the largest scheme of its kind to be launched by a UK bus company. It enables passengers to request a mini-bus pick-up within 15 minutes at a virtual bus stop using a mobile phone app. The service provides the flexibility to choose both the start and end point of journeys within the Eastern Arc of the city. Matching technology enables passengers to be grouped with others making similar journeys to enable ride-sharing.
PickMeUp operates in an area with a high concentration of car use, with more than nine out of 10 commuters travelling to work in their own vehicles. The initiative is intended to tackle worsening traffic congestion and a shortage of parking as Oxford’s economy grows.
Katy Taylor, Commercial and Customer Director at Go-Ahead Group, said, “Passengers have embraced this new idea and we’re looking at ways to introduce demand-responsive bus services elsewhere in the UK. We’re always keen to find ways to meet customers’ needs through better use of transport and innovation. Passengers and local businesses have told us they want more flexibility and greater connectivity and we’re working to deliver on those.”