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Innovative trial to persuade car commuters to catch the bus – by giving them a cab ride to the stop

Bus operator First Bristol has joined forces with city-based tech firm Esoterix Systems to make the morning commute more convenient and sustainable in the first trial of its kind in the UK.

The project is taking people by taxi from a pick-up point near their home to a bus stop where they can hop on a bus and get to work without having to worry about parking.

The trial started this week in Henleaze and Westbury Park, with those taking part walking no more than 250 yards from their doorstep to one of 25 pick-up points dotted around the area.

A Hackney-style shared cab will then transport them to the Nevil Road or Ashley Down Road bus stops on Gloucester Road, from where high-frequency buses provide direct transport to the city centre or UWE, Filton Abbey Wood and businesses on the northern fringe.

Those running the trial say the evening return journey is even more convenient, with passengers getting off the bus near the Co-op supermarket from where one of the MYFIRSTMILE-branded vehicles will take them home, using the most optimal route to drop off multiple passengers.

Henleaze and Westbury Park was selected as trial area after rigorous analysis by transport technology specialist Esoterix Systems of anonymised mobile phone data showed that of more than 900 smartphone users commuting to UWE and other Northern Bristol businesses, half of them did so by car, despite the availability of direct First Bristol bus services from Gloucester Road.

Esoterix Systems chief marketing officer Liz Davidson said: “The analysis and behind this service involves the cutting-edge application of new technologies and data sources, including service simulations and anonymised mobile network data to understand where there is sufficient potential demand for services.”

The trial will run until the end of September. If successful, MYFIRSTMILE may be rolled out to other areas of the city and the country as an effective way to improve public transport options and encourage people to use the bus.

This article was published on the Bristol Business website, here.


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