Taxis may have crucial role in current health crisis

A Council meeting which was to have taken place next week (now cancelled) would have considered the high costs of home to school transport. The council has a budget for this service of #2.78 million although the meeting would have heard that this is overspent by #525,000.

Free transport is provided for pupils who are attending their catchment school, and who live more than 2 miles (primary pupils) or 3 miles (secondary pupils) from home. Most of these pupils use dedicated bus services. Those in receipt of free school meals may also benefit from the use of a bus pass.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) children also get free transport. This includes those with an Education Health Care Plan. Many of these journeys are provided by taxis companies.

Although it remains unclear how many pupils will be continuing to attend their local school (the children of key workers certainly will), it is likely that some free taxi capacity will be available over the coming weeks.  

Hopefully this capacity might be used to ease the burden of those restricted to their own homes as a result of the current corona virus threat.

The delivery of proscriptions and shopping are important services which might usefully be provided by taxi

NB. On a similar level, local supermarkets are now advertising for temporary staff to supplement their shelf stacking and home delivery teams. Possibly good news for some self employed workers who might need a short term job?

Uber buses?

Interesting idea from TransDev in Harrogate

harrogate-bus-jan-2017TransDev was experiencing capacity issues in the morning peak on its flagship 36 service between Ripon and Harrogate. It was as a result of a large number of young people travelling to school in Harrogate on the 36, creating overcrowding problems. Over a two-week period 70 parents said they would be willing to pay for their children to use a dedicated door-to-door service and committed to buying season tickets that not only include travel on this dedicated school bus, but the rest of the Harrogate bus network too. As more and more parents came onboard the overall cost to all reduced.

The operator’s school bus fleet vehicles are typically parked up outside the traditional travel to school times. A wish to fully utilise these assets has led to the creation of the VAMOOZ app which will be launched in the coming months.

VAMOOZ will see Transdev Blazefield launch trips to destinations that are currently unserved by its conventional bus network. These destinations could include places like shopping centres, such as Meadowhall near Sheffield and the Trafford Centre outside Manchester, and trips to sporting events, concerts and music festivals too, as well as potentially more traditional visits to towns and cities of interest across the north of England.

VAMOOZ app users will browse the range of destinations on offer or, alternatively, make a suggestion for a trip of their own choosing. They will then commit to travel on that trip at the price offered by the app but uniquely this price will reduce as more and more users commit to travel.

Key to helping stimulate that demand is that users making a commitment will be invited to share their travel plans with friends on social media and by email in a bid to encourage them to travel too. As more and more people commit, the lower the price becomes to all.

Read a fuller article on this idea by clicking here