Go-Ahead’s DRT service, GoSutton, hits the road

A  demand responsive transport service is now being trialled in London.

Operated by Go-Ahead, passengers book their travel on the on-demand service using an app created by ViaVan. The 12-month trial is being carried out in Sutton, south London. Using mobile and predictive technology, GoSutton is aimed at finding out whether flexible demand responsive transport services can play a role in boosting public transport use.

Sutton was chosen as the trial location as it has high car use and has been difficult to serve with traditional public transport. The borough has 24 bus routes and nine railway stations. However, due to its relatively low housing density and its historic development planned around people using private transport, TfL claims it has not always been practical to run a dedicated bus service in certain areas. This trial aims to explore how creative methods, like demand responsive travel, can add to the traditional bus network, improve the links with existing public transport and reduce car usage.

The fully-accessible buses can seat up to 14 and have USB charging points and free wifi. They will operate in a defined area, rather than following a linear route. Customers travelling on the new buses will be able to book a seat in real time using the GoSutton app, or on the phone. The technology directs passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop for pick-up and drop-off, and dynamically routes the vehicle in real-time. It is designed to allow quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours. The fare is a flat £3.50, with each additional passenger on a group booking paying £2.

  • A second 12-month trial is planned in Ealing later in the year after a consultation takes place to gather the public’s views. It is planned that this service will be run by RATP and technology partner MOIA, who currently power ride sharing in Germany.

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