Arriva has completed its first year operating ArrivaClick – a fully demand-responsive public transport service.
The service was piloted in and around Kent Science Park and Sittingbourne – an area under-served by local public transport connections. Discussions are now underway to roll the scheme out to a major city in the north of England.
ArrivaClick sits between a taxi and local bus service. Customers pre-book using a smart phone app, reserve a seat and get a guaranteed fare and an estimated arrival time at a chosen pick-up point. Their journey is then matched with others heading to the same or similar location, with clever backend technology calculating the shortest and fastest route for all customers on-board instead of following a fixed route. The service is also personalised, with customers receiving text messages providing arrival time and the name of their driver.
The ArrivaClick service aims for luxury and convenience, with free Wi-Fi, charging points and leather seats, all designed to make public transport more attractive to encourage people out of their cars. Through the course of the pilot, more that 50% of customers have switched from using private car to ArrivaClick.
Feedback from recent customer survey data1 shows that:
- The equivalent of 12 per cent of Sittingbourne’s population have downloaded the app
- Six in 10 ArrivaClick customers (61 per cent) use the service a few times a week or more, with just under half (43 per cent) adopting the service for their daily commute
- One third (34 per cent) of customers used the service for leisure trips, while just over three in 10 (31 per cent) used ArrivaClick to visit friends and relatives
- More than half (52 per cent) of customers switched from private motor transport, including taxis (22 per cent) driving their own car (18 per cent) or being a passenger in a car (12 per cent)
- Almost nine in 10 (8.9/10) customers would recommend using the service to a friend.
“Demand Responsive Transport models, like ArrivaClick, present an exciting opportunity to meet the changing needs and requirements of customers and to offer a real alternative to current modes of transport,” commented Kevin O’Connor, Managing Director of UK Bus, Arriva. “They have the potential to provide reliable and affordable first and last mile transport options and vital local transport links in underserved areas.
“By integrating this new flexible, on-demand service with bus and train networks we can continue to play our role as passenger transport providers in helping to ease congestion and improve air quality in urban areas.”
With public sector budgets under pressure, the ArrivaClick demand-responsive model can also provide cost-effective answers for local authorities and commissioning bodies complementing existing transport approaches. Contracted community transport and subsidised services could be blended with the commercial service of ArrivaClick, to provide innovative, customer-focused public transport services benefitting communities and stakeholders.