On-demand service launched at University of Warwick as part of  future transport trial

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From left: Jessica Oppetit, UK Country Manager, Via; Dan Mould, CEO of Coachscanner; Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street; Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council; and Christine Ennew, Provost University of Warwick. WMCA

A new on-demand bus service is being launched at the University of Warwick, promising staff, students and the local community convenient services to order. The West Midlands On Demand service, which is scheduled to start in April, is intended to offer the convenience of a taxi with the environmental benefits of a traditional bus service to help reduce car use and traffic congestion.
Powered by an app to coordinate routes and journeys based on customer demand, the new service will offer a pick up and drop off service in an area of travel. Passengers will use the Bus On-Demand app by Via to request a pick up from a virtual bus stop.

The service is being trialled for the first time in the region as part of its Future Mobility Showcase – a two-year partnership between Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the University of Warwick to pilot innovative transport modes and technology designed to reduce private car use.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, said: “This is a pioneering new type of bus services which uses the latest app technology to offer a bus where you want it and at the right time within the zone, rather than restricted to set routes and timetables. It is just the kind of innovation we in the West Midlands are famed for.

“We are piloting these new services for those commuting between the University of Warwick campuses – but if successful and sustainable we will look at expanding it to other areas across the West Midlands.”

The on-demand services will be operated by Via and CoachScanner with funding from TfWM and the university.

Parvez Islam, Director of Transport and Mobility for the University of Warwick, said: “Trialling new transport modes, such as DRT, on our campus and with our communities helps us to better understand how we might enable a greener, cleaner campus environment and reduce reliance on cars over time.”