Wednesday, 4 July 2018

And Even "H"?

Hospital Hesitancy
Correspondent Roger is trying out GoAhead Oxford Bus' new PickMeUp service. He has arrived at Marston Lane and strolled purposefully to the Radcliffe Hospital, sort of nearby.
It has four "normal" bus stands on a terminal loop, and one other on a "through road".
There are plenty of buses but, sadly, none will take you direct to Blackbird Lees, a vast "council" estate south east of the city centre.
This would make an ideal "trial" for PickMeUp".
As before, a simple procedure on the App; book, confirm and pay up!
But Deep Throat told the slightly bemused experimenter that he would be collected from Sandfield Road and NOT the Hospital.


Was this because the Minibuses are not allowed in the Hospital bus station? Unlikely, it's on their map!

It seems possible that the software was getting close ("no more than two roads away" is the rather ill defined definition) but not too close.

It gave Roger the dotted line route to the pick-up point, via a car park ...
... Woodlands Road (right, below) and Sandfield Road.
You would need to be brave to risk that substantial wiggle if you were in a hurry to meet your dark blue limo.

Was Rog clever enough to work out that he could walk via a gate opposite the bus station ...
... and down a "Private Road" to the pick-up point?
Surely he was! Either way, surely PickMeUp should prioritise PickingPeopleUp at the Hospital.

But all worked out satisfactorily in the end ...
... with everything doing what it was supposed to do.
Two successful journeys, after a long wait at the start, but very efficient and cheap as chips.

But driving a large minibus round Oxford with just one passenger at a time (nobody shared with Roger!) is hardly a viable business prospect. Of course the idea is that the software will match up several passengers for the one journey.

But the more passengers there are to be PickedUp, the slower and less attractive will be the journey.

It's a dilemma!

Don't forget that the £2.50 price is flagged as an "introductory offer". What will it be once the service is better known?

But we must not detract from the fact that the technology seemed to be working well, apart from the non arrival at John Radcliffe but, so far, on every journey in Oxford, on similar services in London and the taxi link in Bristol, it has been Ride Not Sharing With Anybody.

Early days, of course.

Talking of RideSolo, Roger has also tried a second Ford Chariot in the form of the Battersea Bullet.
Roger asks a pertinent question.
It was a RideSolo!

fbb would like to thank correspondent Roger for providing the basis for the last two blogs. His view? He describes the schemes as "Ride Sharing Malarkey". fbb dares to agree - they won't last.


 Next "I" blog : Thursday 5th July 


  1. Stagecoach service 10 runs to Cowley every 10 minutes then it is a change onto the high frequency 1/5

  2. What I don't understand is how some people seem to see such operations as a cheap answer for the replacement of ordinary bus services in rural areas. Larger buses currently operate peak journeys with loads that are more than a minibus can carry - so those journeys and size of vehicles will be still be required, on school days at least.

    The capital cost per seat of a minibus is I understand not much less than that of a large bus. Driver costs likewise. So just where is the operational saving unless peak bus services will become school contracts and other passengers requirements are such times are ignored? Also when this issue was raised at County level in Kent an officer indicated that the set up cuts of Click were larger than the budget saving they were trying to make!!

    So is it just wishful thinking?

  3. Is it possibly an attempt to make bus travel more attractive to people who currently use cars?