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Old February 22nd 19, 08:06 AM posted to
Roland Perry Roland Perry is offline
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Default TfL demand-responsive bus trial

In message , at 07:21:09 on
Fri, 22 Feb 2019, BirchangerKen remarked:

It seems like an idea that is definitely worth trying, a sort of half
way house between normal buses and taxis. If it was available in any
part of London that I ever visit I'd give it a go.

It's been going for a while in Essex, in some of the more rural
districts. See

That's a different animal - a community minibus scheme. Not the local
bus company operating a different style of bus.

We have a similar scheme to the Essex one in Cambs and I'd be surprised
if it wasn't quite widespread.

Reading the leaflet above, and despite their protestations, it's much
more like a shared-taxi scheme than an on-demand bus, anyway. They won't
run it if there aren't a minimum number of passengers. A proper
on-demand bus must be prepared to run with just one passenger, else it
becomes unpredictable.

The TfL one isn't going to require bookings 2hrs in advance, either.
They quote an estimated average of 10 minutes.

I attend a local transport forum and we're told that ridership has
grown faster than expected. That surprised me as I'd thought that
having to decide in advance that you wish to get the bus would deter
people. But if the demand-responsive service is only replacing a bus
that runs, say, once per day then I suppose spontenaity isn't really a

Key to the TfL scheme is that it must demonstrate that it delivers a
modal shift from cars to bus. The community minibus schemes are largely
for people without access to a car. Given that the community minibus is
the only transport they are likely to be able to get (other than a taxi
at perhaps 5x the fare) it's not surprising they are popular.

Note, however, that they tend to be subsidised by a mixture of hard cash
(from the Local Authority) and volunteer time. I'd expect TfL's buses to
need to be sustainably self-funding.
Roland Perry