Arriva launches demand-responsive minibus service

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The new service is currently operating in and around Kent Science Park and Sittingbourne. ARRIVA

ArrivaClick, built around a smartphone app, uses a fleet of high-spec 12-seater Mercedes-Benz Sprinters and a high-tech algorithm developed by US firm Via

Arriva UK Bus has launched the ArrivaClick demand responsive service in Kent.

The ArrivaClick service, which uses five Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 45 minibuses supplied by EVM and London Hire, has been launched in and around Kent Science Park and Sittingbourne, though Arriva said it will widen the geographic area of the service in time.

The service was developed in partnership with US firm Via, which provides dynamic shared ride services in New York, Chicago and Washington DC.

ArrivaClick utilises a smartphone app to enable passengers to request a minibus from their pick up point at a time they want and to a destination of their choosing.

Their journey will then be matched with other people heading towards the same destination.

Once booked, customers are guaranteed a seat on the minibuses, which can accommodate 12 people. They are specified with leather seats, tables, USB charging points, free WiFi and electrical charging points.

To use the service, customers download the app onto their smartphone, create an account to buy credit which can be topped up and then request their journey by booking their seat on the bus. They are given a proposed cost and ETA for the journey and once accepted, they can track the vehicle’s arrival in the app.

Alistair Hands, Commercial Director of Arriva UK Bus, said: “The ArrivaClick app is the result of two driving forces, the first being the continued demand from existing customers to prioritise punctuality of service and frequency.

“The second force is a shift in consumer and market behaviour which has seen people expecting a service that is bespoke and tailored to their specific needs – while also being reactive and sitting in the palm of their hand.

“We see similar ways of travelling on the continent and we believe there is a demand for this type of service here in the UK too.”

Via has provided a custom built rider app, driver app, backend technology and algorithm to power the service’s routing and dispatch functions. The algorithms aim to allow passengers to be picked up and dropped off without taking riders out of their way to accommodate other passengers, enabling the platform to move a high volume of riders while using a fraction of the number of vehicles utilised by other on-demand car services.

Zachary Wasserman, Head of Global Business Development at Via, said: “This is the first time Via has partnered with a transit organisation to provide a full end-to-end operating system and we are really looking forward to following the success of ArrivaClick.

“So far we have enjoyed great growth in the United States that has seen us provide more than 12 million rides, and we’re looking forward to growing the service in the UK.”