Stagecoach to launch DRT service

Stagecoach is set to launch an app-based demand responsive bus service for NHS workers this month.

Stagecoach’s customised travel solution, branded as Stagecoach Connect, was developed from concept to delivery with ViaVan in two weeks to help NHS employees access hospitals and other key workplaces in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The operator is working in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust and ViaVan, the company that provides digital infrastructure to power public mobility in cities across Europe, to launch the new Stagecoach Connect service. The service will come into effect for a trial at King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield from Monday 18 May.

The service at King’s Mill Hospital will operate early in the morning and late evening hours, an expansion from the existing fixed line service which is focused on creating access for healthcare workers during additional shift patterns. In this way those key workers do not have to worry about a tired drive home or finding a car parking space during busy times. Through the use of a mobile app, powered by ViaVan’s technology for demand-responsive transport, healthcare workers are able to track the location of their bus, change or cancel a booking, and pre-book up to one week in advance to match upcoming shift schedules. Stagecoach is also involved in discussions with other NHS Trusts, including in Humberside, about the roll out of a similar service.

Stagecoach Chief Executive, Martin Griffiths, said: “We firmly believe that demand responsive transport, backed up by an easy technology solution, has huge potential right across the NHS and for other major organisations seeking a better and more sustainable solution to crowded car parks and unnecessary ‘single use’ polluting car trips.

“As we come out of lockdown into our new normal, we are looking at how this type of service can support the public and private sector in getting back on its feet, and helping communities across the country recover.”

  • Earlier this year, Stagecoach launched a new ‘Tees Flex’ on demand service in Tees Valley as the result of a successful partnership with the Mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen. ViaVan also provides the technology to power this service.

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