Uber-style service for buses on the cards for Shropshire
Transport bosses for Shropshire are looking into a new on-demand bus service which is already operating in Liverpool.
Councillors Steve Davenport and Simon Harris, who are responsible for the transport portfolio, are heading to the city to see how ArrivaClick works.
Passengers can ‘order’ and track a vehicle from the app, which also tells them the name of the driver and allows them to choose their pick-up point and reserve a seat.
Powered by the sophisticated technology of global ride sharing transportation firm Via, algorithms match passengers travelling in the same direction and schedule vehicles in real-time to find the optimal route for their trip.
"Shropshire Council is currently looking at the whole bus service as a whole," Councillor Harris said.
"As part of that we're going to Liverpool to see how the new Arriva system works. It's essentially Uber but for buses. It's very, very new at the moment but we feel the cost savings and benefits to the public, especially in Shrewsbury, would be huge.
"I think if we could make it work in Shrewsbury, we could make it work elsewhere in the county. We want to use modern technology to develop more efficient services in Shropshire."
The authority is proposing to reduce its public transport budget by £405,000 and the Shrewsbury Park & Ride budget by £50,000.
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Councillor Davenport said an on-demand bus service is a 'common sense' approach.
"We do struggle with transport because Shropshire is the biggest inland county in the country. It gives us problems that most counties don't have.
"At the moment we're running bus services that have just one or two people on them and it's not cost effective.
"An on-demand bus service could group together people in an area that want to go to Shrewsbury."
"The whole transport system needs looking at because I think we can do things better in the future."
Arriva is working with Merseytravel to roll-out the new cashless service in Liverpool and hopes to have 25 vehicles on the road by summer.
The service was originally piloted in and around Kent Science Park and Sittingbourne – an area under-served by local public transport connections
Councillor Davenport also urged people to have their say on the bus consultation at www.shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved.