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The inhabitants of Ealing could soon order a bus to take them through the district.
Transport for London has announced a one-year test of an on-demand bus service to the region. Passengers use an app to request a seat, and the minibus picks them up. In TfL's own words:
This is a test service that has no fixed route or schedule but responds to the request to be picked up by the customer. It can be booked at the desired time of travel [6am-1am], primarily via an app, and provide real-time updates to customers of vehicle arrival time and guarantees a seat for confirmed bookings.
The trial is the second in London after the launch of a similar trial in Sutton in May. As with Sutton, Ealing is an area whose population relies heavily on cars. It is hoped that the bookable bus will help reduce the number of car trips in the region.
The fleet of 10 minibuses is operated by RATP with MOIA as a technology provider. Travel with the service is charged at a flat rate of £ 3.50 (via the app, not through Oyster), though Freedom passes and concessions are accepted.
Before the process begins, TfL wants comments and suggestions from the public. If you are on site and have thoughts on this topic, you can have a say in the consultation page.
We have to admit a bit of skepticism. Are there too many variables and obstacles here? While companies like Uber take you from your doorstep to more or less anywhere, this program can only stop at previously approved sites in a relatively small geographic area. Sure, that will be helpful to some, but will it find the foundation to make it economical?
But tests are meant for that. We look forward to the first results of the Sutton study, which TfL expects to see in late August. Detailed information on the consultation and the Ealing process can be found here and for the Sutton process here.
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