Emerging Project

On-Demand Bus Service

Idea: Pilot electric hopper bus

Some areas around Chipping Barnet are not densely populated enough to support  frequent fixed bus links, not enough people would use the services to sustain high frequencies, and low frequency services are unattractive because they may not run at the time residents want or where they need to go. However, these areas should not be left without transport provision.

As proposed in the Barnet Long Term Transport Strategy, on-Demand bus services operate flexibly in response to local demand –they can adapt their routes and timings depending on the destinations of the passengers. On-Demand services typically allow passengers to book a ride via an app, website or through a telephone call, providing easy and quick access to the service. Where possible, On-Demand services stop in close proximity to the desired origin and destination of the passenger and provide a direct link between them, making it an inclusive choice for disabled people.

For more information refer to the Barnet Long-Term Transport Strategy.

Why it is useful:

  • Helps connect residential areas currently not serviced by public transport, notably those north-east and south-west of the high street
  • Makes it easier to travel without using a private vehicle, thus reducing the amount of traffic on the local streets
  • Helps those people who do not have access to a private vehicle and/or unable to walk or cycle to access their local services. Especially important with an ageing population, supporting those who are more vulnerable to come to the high street

Who needs to be involved:

  • Council: Lead (refer to Barnet’s Long Term Transport Strategy)
  • Town Team: Champion
  • Transport for London: Funding / Operator
  • Other potential partners: Potential sponsors, App development companies and potential local operators
  • Local Residents: Service users

How to get started:

  • Undertake a technical review and stakeholder engagement of residential areas which could benefit significantly from such a trial.
  • Build a business case and approach TfL and/or other potential funding providers
  • Promote and publicise and gain local support for take up
  • Undertake a minimum of 12 months trial to monitor success and learn lessons
  • If successful, roll out a longer-term service

Viability considerations:

  • Funding potential: Requires a robust business case and support from the Council and TfL, potentially funding through the Community Infrastructure Levy, GLA and/or TfL Bids/Grants. At present this will be challenging as TFL LIP funding is not available but worth exploring for the long-term
  • Location: Stops are flexible, but could include key locations in the town centre along the High Street, Stapylton Road, the hospital and station.
  • Resource: Dependent on available resources to manage and monitor the trials within the council and TfL

Example: GoSutton & Slide Ealing

In London, two trials of On-Demand services have recently begun in Sutton and Ealing, with the aim to investigate the potential of this type of public transport. Both GoSutton and Slide Ealing are sponsored by Transport for London. To book a ride, people use an App, with the service offered seven days a week and costing £3.50 per ride. The minibuses do not follow a fixed route, picking people up from flexible stops, creating a more personalised service. Once a ride has been secured, users will wait no longer than around 10 minutes for a bus.

Example: ArrivaClick

ArrivaClick is an On-Demand service operating in areas of Liverpool, New Lubbesthorpe and Sittingbourne. More than half of ArrivaClick users switched from using cars in Sittingbourne with 43% using the service as part of their daily commute.