The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has announced an expansion of its on-demand shuttle service in Coventry.
Initially launched as a pilot around the University of Warwick Campus and south-west Coventry in spring 2021, the service has clocked over 7,500 rides and will now be expanded to cover more of the city.
Six minibuses – each with a capacity for 13 passengers, including one wheelchair space – will operate initially, with plans to expand to ten as demand increases.
The shuttles can be booked via the smartphone app or telephone to pick up passengers for any chosen journey within the zone.
“Using the latest app technology to free buses from fixed routes and stops is just the kind of innovation that we are famed for in the West Midlands,” said Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street.
“It is part of our plans to offer convenient and affordable alternatives to the car as we look to reduce congestion and address the climate change emergency.
“The service has proved particularly popular for those whose journeys do not follow main routes, which is why, with our partners, we are expanding the zone covered to include the hospital and city centre, as well as increasing the number of on-demand buses available to passengers.”
The pilot service was launched by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) as part of the Future Mobility Zone/Showcase scheme to test innovative transport services and technology aimed at reducing private car use and traffic congestion on streets.
The service is run by bus operator Coachscanner, powered by software from Via, and backed with funding from Transport for West Midlands – which is part of WMCA – Coventry City Council and the University of Warwick.
West Midlands residents are also being invited to have their say on a far-reaching strategy laying out how the region’s transport system can improve services over the next two decades.
The draft West Midlands Local Transport Plan (LTP), Reimagining Transport in the West Midlands, outlines how the region can meet the challenges of tackling climate change, reducing traffic congestion and improving access to transport while supporting the economic recovery post COVID-19.
The plan, drawn up by TfWM, also builds on changes in travel behaviour seen during the coronavirus pandemic such as increases in cycling, walking and scooting and a reduction in five-days-per-week commuting.
It was developed following the publication of an open ‘green paper’ discussion document on the future of transport last year which drew almost 700 responses from across the region.
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