October 4, 2021 (Cheshire, UK) — Cheshire East is partnering with Via, the leader in TransitTech, to launch an on-demand rural bus service to help reduce social isolation in some of the more remote parts of the borough and complement existing public transit in the area.
The new ‘go-too’ pilot scheme will provide safe, convenient and affordable rides in a wide area south of Nantwich, taking in Bunbury, Wrenbury and Audlem, as well as some other villages, where no commercial services are available.
The tech-enabled bus service will be booked using a mobile phone app or phone call, with a doorstep pick-up service for less mobile passengers. This allows a resident, or a group of residents, to request an on-demand bus for a specific journey. The service is not tied to a fixed route as most traditional bus services are, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours or fixed schedules.
Two branded 16-seater ‘midi’ buses will be available between 7am and 9pm, Monday to Saturday, with low-floor access. A third vehicle may operate at peak times, subject to demand.
“Via’s mission is to build accessible, sustainable and flexible public transport solutions. We’re excited to partner with Cheshire East Council to launch this innovative technology-enabled transport service to reduce social isolation and improve mobility options for its community,” said Chris Snyder, CEO of Via Europe.
If the pilot service is successful, it could be rolled out to other parts of the borough.
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader and chair of highways and transport, said: “This is a really exciting and innovative pilot scheme that will make a remote area of our borough more accessible and reduce social isolation for local residents of all ages.
“The council continues to support the fixed-route bus network but we are aware that traditional services are not a convenient method of travel for all residents. This scheme helps address this problem.
“Unfortunately, commercial services are not able to make some rural routes cost-effective. Via’s on-demand bus service will help enable people of all ages to reach GP surgeries, attend hospital appointments, access further education and training or go shopping.
“This new bus service will help reduce car dependency and a sense of isolation, as well as contribute to the council’s own low-carbon aspirations. We will be monitoring this pilot carefully, as we are optimistic it could offer a way forward for the future of rural bus services in Cheshire East.”
This £1.25m, three-year pilot service has been funded by the Department for Transport’s Rural Mobility Fund.
The ‘go-too’ service starts at 1pm on Monday 4 October. Tickets for the bus service will be £3 for people aged 16 and over and £2 for under-16s and concessions. For every five journeys taken, users will get the sixth journey free.
Information on how to book the service and which areas are included etc, can be found on the council’s website at: http://www.go-too.co.uk
Alternatively, ring 0300 123 5103 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Founded in 2012, Via pioneered the TransitTech category by using new technologies to power public mobility systems, optimizing networks of dynamic shuttles, buses, wheelchair accessible vehicles, school buses, and autonomous vehicles around the globe. Building the world’s most efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation network for all riders — including those with limited mobility, those without smartphones, and unbanked populations — Via works with its partners to lower the cost of public transit and provide accessible options that rival the convenience of a personal car at a much reduced environmental impact. At the intersection of transportation and technology, Via is a visionary market leader that combines software innovation with sophisticated service design and operational expertise to fundamentally improve the way the world moves, with 500 global partners on five continents, and counting.