UK’s West Midlands expands on-demand shuttle pilot

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February 08, 2022

by Christopher Carey

the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has announced an expansion of its on-demand shuttle service to Coventry.

Initially launched as a pilot project around the University of Warwick and South West Coventry campus in spring 2021, the service has recorded over 7,500 journeys and will now be expanded to cover more of the city.

Six minibuses – each with a capacity of 13 passengers, including wheelchair space – will operate initially, with plans to expand to ten as demand increases.

Shuttles can be booked through the smartphone app or over the phone to pick up passengers for any chosen ride within the area.

“Using the latest app technology to free buses from fixed routes and stops is exactly the kind of innovation we are famous for in the West Midlands,” said West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.

“It is part of our plans to provide convenient and affordable alternatives to the car as we seek to ease traffic congestion and address the urgency of climate change.

“The service is particularly appreciated by those whose journeys do not follow the main axes, which is why, with our partners, we are extending the area covered to the hospital and to the city center, while increasing the number of buses on demand. available to passengers. »

Reduced congestion

The pilot service was launched by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) as part of the Future Mobility Zone/Showcase device test innovative transport services and technologies aimed at reducing private car use and traffic congestion on the streets.

The service is run by bus operator Coachscanner, powered by software from Via and backed by funding from Transport for West Midlands – part of WMCA – Coventry City Council and the University of Warwick.

Reinvent transport

Residents of the West Midlands are also being asked to give their opinion on a far-reaching strategy outlining how the region’s transport system can improve services over the next two decades.

The West Midlands Local Transport Plan (LTP) project, Reinventing transport in the West Midlandsoutlines how the region can meet the challenges of tackling climate change, reducing traffic congestion and improving access to transportation while supporting economic recovery from COVID-19.

The plan, developed by TfWM, also builds on changes in travel behavior seen during the coronavirus pandemic, such as increased cycling, walking and scootering and a reduction in five-day-a-week commuting.

It was developed following the publication of an open discussion paper on the “green paper” on the future of transport last year, which elicited nearly 700 responses from across the region.

Image: WMCA

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