Slide Ealing, the on-demand bus service provided by TfL, RATP and Volkswagen Group-owned German technology firm MOIA, started picking up passengers in the west London borough on 13 November. This follows a public consultation earlier in the year.
It will operate seven days a week, 0600hrs to 0100hrs, 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. The service will be available for the next 12 months.
Passengers can book a ride using the app, or on the phone. The service does not follow a fixed route, picking people up from flexible stops, creating a more personalised service. Once a ride has been secured, users will wait no longer than around 10 minutes for a bus.
Fares for the on-demand bus will start at a flat rate of £3.50, with passengers benefitting from weekly and monthly capping. Every 10th journey will be free.
The 12-month service will be socially inclusive, with Freedom Passes and the English National Concessionary pass accepted. The new buses can accommodate wheelchair users and are fully accessible.
Ealing has been chosen for the second research trial because there are relatively high numbers of private vehicles in the borough.
Figures show that 40% 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.