Wednesday, 4 July 2018
And Even "H"?
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.
WELL DONE INGERLAND!!
Next "I" blog : Thursday 5th July