The demand-responsive bus pilot aims to reduce single-occupancy vehicle usage and encourage public transit ridership in Sutton
28 May 2019 (LONDON)-- ViaVan, the joint venture between Via, the world’s experts in on-demand shared transit, and Mercedes-Benz Vans, announced today the launch of GoSutton, an innovative demand-responsive bus pilot in collaboration with Transport for London (TfL) and operated by Go-Ahead in the borough of Sutton. The project seeks to improve links to existing public transit and bus networks in the region and to reduce the need for private car usage for trips within Sutton.
“We are delighted to be partnering with TfL and Go-Ahead to provide residents of Sutton with an on-demand public mobility service that combines the ease and convenience of private car ownership with the environmental and congestion-reducing benefits of mass transport,” said Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan. “GoSutton is an exciting example of how public transportation and technology can work together to improve mobility for Londoners and support the Mayor’s goals of boosting public transport usage.”
“We are growing the bus network in outer London, as well as improving the capital’s Tube and rail service, but we also need to embrace and harness innovation to get people out of their cars,” said Michael Hurwitz, TfL’s Director of Transport Innovation, said. This trial will let us know how a more flexible, on-demand bus service could help us get Londoners wedded to private cars onto more sustainable ways of getting around.”
Using the GoSutton app, passengers will select their pick-up and drop-off location to book a ride in a uniform fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles that seat up to 14 passengers. The system will be powered by Via’s advanced algorithms, which enable multiple riders to seamlessly share a single vehicle. The powerful technology directs passengers to a nearby “virtual bus stop” for pick-up and drop-off, and dynamically routes the vehicle in real-time, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.
The service will operate seven days a week from 6.20 until 21.30, and rides will be cashless, with the £3.50 fare paid for with a credit card directly through the GoSutton app. TfL Freedom Pass holders will be entitled to a fare waiver. The service will be operated by Go-Ahead London, and all GoSutton vehicles are wheelchair accessible. Riders without a smartphone can book a ride by calling the GoSutton support center or sending a text.
David Brown, CEO of The Go-Ahead Group said, “As the operator of PickMeUp, the largest demand responsive service in the UK, we are delighted to work with TfL and ViaVan to help deliver this bespoke service to the residents of Sutton.”
TfL awarded the pilot to ViaVan and Go Ahead following a tender process that sought an innovative technology solution with flexible routing, scheduling, and booking that would complement public transport in outer London and help TfL explore a demand-responsive approach to reducing private vehicles on the road. This is part of the Mayor’s initiative to reduce congestion in London and achieve 80% of all journeys by public transport, cycling or walking by 2041. Sutton has some of the highest private vehicle usage rates in London, as 71 percent of households have access to a car, alongside low public transit connectivity, ranking in the bottom 20 percent of PTAL scores, or Public Transit Accessibility Levels.
GoSutton is ViaVan’s seventh deployment in the United Kingdom and second project operated in partnership with Go-Ahead, following on the heels of their successful PickMeUp service in Oxford. ViaVan also has services in Leicester, Liverpool, and Sittingbourne in partnership with Arriva. ViaVan operates in Milton Keynes and London, where they have provided more than 6 million rides since their launch in April 2018.
ViaVan is a leading provider of innovative on-demand shared transit services in Europe. ViaVan was founded in 2017 as a joint venture between Via, the world’s most sophisticated developer of dynamic shared rides technology, and Mercedes-Benz Vans, the leading manufacturer of iconic passenger and cargo vans. Working closely with cities and public transit operators, ViaVan powers dynamic shared mobility services that complement existing transportation infrastructure, and currently operates in London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Milton Keynes. Through their partnership, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via are also collaborating on the development of advanced mobility solutions, from sensor technology, to electric vehicle fleet management, to autonomous driving.