Take a taxi to the bus stop! Commuter service gets trial run in Westbury Park
MYFIRSTMILE, a new, shared, urban taxi-bus service, has launched in Westbury Park.
This trial service connects people living in the area to the rapid bus network on the Gloucester Road via a shared hackney-style cab.
Developed by Bristol-based tech company Esoterix Systems in conjunction with bus company First, the innovative service is designed to get people out of their cars and onto the bus system by bringing commuters by taxi to a bus stop of their choice.
Westbury Park and Henleaze have been selected as trial areas after Esoterix Systems’ analysis showed more than 900 smartphone users commuted to North Bristol or UWE from Gloucester Road. Much thought went into how to reduce these individual short journeys and led to the development of MYFIRSTMILE.
Initially, the service is aimed at the commuter market and the trial has been set up so that commuters don’t walk more than 250 yards from their doorstep. There are 25 pick up and drop off points along Coldharbour Road, Henleaze Road and roads nearby, as shown by the map.
In the morning, passengers catch a MYFIRSTMILE vehicle which is running along pre-scheduled routes and which will deliver them to a hub on the rapid bus network on Gloucester Road (A38) where they can get a conventional bus to North Bristol or into the city centre. The return journey begins when they arrive at the Co-op car park on the Gloucester Road, where there will be a waiting vehicle available from 3pm to take them home along with other passengers. This service will be different, with vehicles not adhering to a fixed route or timetable, instead operating like a shared taxi.
The service is run through a smartphone app where passengers pre-pay and once they have bought their pass they have unlimited access to MYFIRSTMILE and the Bristol Inner Zone Network.
MYFIRSTMILE operates Monday to Friday from 6am to 10.30am travelling to Gloucester Road and from 3pm until 8pm travelling to Henleaze and Westbury Park, with the last vehicle leaving the Co-op car park at 7.45pm. The service costs £4 per day all inclusive of First Bristol Inner Zone journeys; £17 per week or £66 per month. All new users get one day’s free travel when they download the app.
During pre-launch testing, a passenger said: “Delivered straight onto the bus, I’ve never felt more in control of my time in the morning rush-hour.”
The trial is part of the Innovate UK sponsored project MODLE (Mobility on Demand Laboratory Environment) which also includes Bristol City Council and University of the West of England.
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