Arriva introduced its third demand responsive ArrivaClick minibus service yesterday, serving residents of the new Drummond Estate development in Leicestershire .
The partnership between Arriva and the Drummond Estate for New Lubbesthorpe, one of the largest new housing developments in the East Midlands, represents the first time in the UK that a Section 106 agreement has been used to fund a digitised demand responsive transport (DRT) service.
Historically, funding has been used for fixed bus routes, whereas DRT services operate across a geographic area with routes scheduled automatically according to where passengers want to go. ArrivaClick will give residents of the development flexibility to work, learn and enjoy their leisure time. It will cover the area from Leicester Forest East in the north to Enderby in the south and includes new homes, schools, community facilities and the Meridian Business Park.
Operating in an area of 29sqkm for a population of 70,000, the new service will enable connections with existing bus and train networks and provide flexible connections to Leicester city centre, major employers and hospitals.
Asiya Jelani, business development director, ArrivaClick, says: “Customers want more convenient travel, so we need to apply innovative solutions to public transport problems and a realistic alternative to private car ownership if we are to tackle urban congestion and improve air quality.
“This pioneering approach means shorter end-to-end journey times and thousands of virtual bus stops. It presents a lower cost option that is easily flexible and has shown to be attractive to non-traditional bus users in other areas. Customers choose it because it is affordable and meets their needs.”
Passengers can book and track an ArrivaClick vehicle, pre-pay and reserve a space for a pram or wheelchair within the app, which then optimises the best route for the driver to take for all passengers. On board, there is Wi-Fi, extra legroom and high-backed seats for up to 15 passengers per vehicle.
A first for a development of this type, ArrivaClick already operates in Sittingbourne, Kent, and in Liverpool – where it operates the largest DRT of its type in the UK. Research carried out by Arriva has found that in these areas up to 40% of passengers are moving out of cars, younger passengers are more likely to adopt public transport, and up to 56% use the service so they don’t have to find a parking space at their destination.
Most use ArrivaClick for shopping and leisure trips, travelling to work or to visit friends or relatives.
New Lubbesthorpe is an initiative of the Drummond Estate. A new £15million motorway bridge has already opened to provide greater connectivity and the first phase of 500 homes is underway. The first primary school will be open for the September 2019 intake.
Martin Ward on behalf of the Drummond Estate, explains: “This exciting development is delivering a new place to live, work, go to school and visit, with vibrant urban amenities, and it is important we provide sustainable transport options.
“This is just one of the initiatives we are delivering at New Lubbesthorpe to provide attractive and viable alternatives to using the car. An ‘on call’ service, it provides a high quality, easy and flexible solution to meet local travel needs and is one of the reasons this is such a pioneering development.”
The proposals will be built-out over the next 20 years and will grow into a sustainable new community, which also provides 325acres of new parklands.