Arriva has named Liverpool as the northern city where it will launch its app-based demand responsive minibus service, ArrivaClick, from late summer following the trial launched last year in Sittingbourne, Kent.
Arriva is working with PTE Merseytravel to roll-out the new cashless service later in the summer, initially with six Mercedes-Benz Sprinter “luxury” minibuses, but with a view to running 25 by summer 2019. This would make it the largest commercial demand responsive transport (DRT) operation in the UK, with up to 70 new jobs created.
Passengers can order and track a vehicle from the app, which will also tell them the name of the driver, and allow them to choose their pick-up point, and reserve a seat. Powered by the technology of global ride sharing transport firm Via, algorithms will seamlessly match passengers travelling in the same direction, dynamically routeing vehicles in real-time to find the optimal route for their trip.
The shortest and fastest routes are calculated, with a guaranteed fare, and real-time information on time of departure and arrival is provided. Passengers are then picked up and dropped off by the bus at their chosen point. On board, ArrivaClick offers free WiFi, charging points and leather seats.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, says: “I’m committed to making the Liverpool City Region more connected and accessible with quality infrastructure. Delivering great public transport services plays a key role in that. People’s lifestyles and expectations are changing, and we need to continue to modernise and renew our transport network to meet those needs.
“At the same time, we must be mindful of the impact pollution and congestion has on the city. That means thinking more creatively and providing innovative services that deliver tangible benefits for both passengers and the environment.”
During the pilot in Kent, Arriva says more than 50% of customers surveyed switched from using private cars to ArrivaClick, with 61% of users using the service a few times a week or more; 43% adopted the service for their daily commute and the average rating for users was 8.3 out of 10, with nine out of 10 saying they would recommend it to a friend.
Kevin O’Connor, managing director of UK Bus, Arriva, says: “The bus services we run in Liverpool are relied upon by thousands of customers every day, and we are proud to bring this innovative and complementary new service to the city. ArrivaClick will complement existing public transport in the region, giving customers more options to use shared transport and we have big ambitions to make this flexible, responsive service available for thousands more journeys. Liverpool is a city that embraces new ideas, so it was the natural choice for us.”
Matt Goggins, head of bus at Merseytravel, adds: “We are delighted that ArrivaClick is set to launch in Liverpool. One of Merseytravel’s main aims is to make sustainable journeys a more attractive choice for people in the Liverpool City Region, particularly when accessing things like training, education and employment. By providing a new way to use public transport, ArrivaClick really supports that vision.”
John Irving, CEO of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, says: “This innovative scheme will give greater choice of public transport options not only for passengers travelling to and from the airport, but also for employees based here, helping to fill gaps in the existing bus service provision.”