On-Demand Public Transport Arrives in London

Following a public consultation earlier in 2019, Slide Ealing, the on-demand public transport services provided by Transport for London (TfL), bus company RATP, and German technology firm MOIA, has begun to operate in the west London borough.

The service will operate seven days a week and cover an area from Southall in the west to the North Circular and from the A40 down to Boston Manor in the south of Ealing. It will be available for the next 12 months.

Passengers can book ride-on-demand public transport services using the app or via phone. Once a ride has been confirmed, users will allegedly wait no longer than around 10 minutes for a bus.

The 12-month service aims to be socially inclusive, with Freedom Passes and the English National Concessionary Pass accepted. The new buses can also accommodate wheelchair users and are considered fully accessible.

Ealing has been chosen for the second research trial because of the relatively high numbers of private vehicles in the borough.

Figures show that 40 percent of people living in the area use cars—be they private or for hire—to get to work, and TfL believes an on-demand service could encourage people to switch to a more sustainable way of travelling.

The trial will also look to encourage Ealing residents to use public transport for the whole of their journey, linking locals with the proposed launch area’s 29 bus routes and 10 tube and rail stations.

Fares start at a flat rate of £3.50, with passengers being able to benefit from weekly and monthly capping. Every 10th journey is free. The buses are accessible for wheelchair users.

The area covered by Slide Ealing. Image: TfL

A similar trial launched in Sutton earlier this year with two different operators, ViaVan and Go-Ahead. TfL is currently not commenting on this trial’s success due to pre-election rules.

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