Bus company expands ride-hailing service after early success
A bus company in Oxford, UK is looking to expand its ride-hailing service nationwide after experiencing rapid growth in demand from passengers.
PickMeUp launched last summer, offering travellers the chance to be collected from a ‘virtual’ bus stop at the nearest street corner within 15 minutes. Passengers summon the service via an iPhone or Android app; and more than 100,000 people have used the service in just nine months.
PickMeUp uses technology developed by New York’s ride sharing specialist Via. This matches passengers making similar journeys to facilitate the ride sharing. Payment is via a credit or debit card or PayPal account, linked to the app.
PickMeUp uses a fleet of air conditioned Mercedes City 45 Sprinter minibuses, each with free WiFi and Usb charging points, to deliver the service. It charges passengers an extra £2.50 (€2.80) per journey if the trip could have be made by one of the scheduled bus services run by its parent, Oxford Bus Company.
Corporate packages for business customers are available, with a particular focus on commuters.
Katy Taylor, commercial and customer director at Go-Ahead Group, said: “We’re looking at ways to introduce demand-responsive bus services elsewhere in the UK. Passengers and local businesses have told us they want more flexibility and greater connectivity and we’re working to deliver on those.”