Transport for London has launched a four-week consultation on plans to trial an on-demand bus service to let people or groups use an app to book seats on a minibus that will stop at locations, including areas not currently served by public transport.
The on-demand service trial in Sutton is proposed to run from 6.30am to 9.30pm, seven days a week and would carry up to 14 passengers. They would benefit from a guaranteed seat, free WiFi and USB charging points and flexible stops within a certain area.
The consultation is asking Londoners for their views on the specific area of Sutton that the service should cover and suggested stopping points. The trial, which will last for a year, will help TfL gauge the level of interest for an on-demand service and assess how it would work alongside the existing public transport network in Sutton.
Sutton was chosen because it has relatively high car dependency, and TfL believes the service could encourage people to switch to a more sustainable way of travelling. In doing so it says this will improve London’s air quality, and reduce congestion. The buses will meet emissions standards and also accommodate wheelchairs – improving accessibility.
As well as using the app, passengers will also be able to book trips over the phone. The cost of using this new type of transport will be slightly higher than a traditional bus to reflect a better experience for customers, with Freedom Passes accepted.
After a competitive bidding process, ViaVan and Go-Ahead have been chosen to operate the trial.