Britain's largest demand-responsive bus service to expand after passing 100,000 journeys mark

Posted On: 
10th April 2019

More than 100,000 journeys have been made on PickMeUp, Go-Ahead Group’s ground-breaking on-demand ride-sharing service since it launched in June 2018.

  • PickMeUp in Oxford smashes internal forecasts after nine months of operation
  • Zone to expand with extra buses and additional staff
  • Buses pick passengers up on the nearest street corner at the touch of an app

Over 22,000 registered users have signed up to the app and an average of 3,500 journeys are now completed per week.

In the light of the service’s popularity, Go-Ahead is expanding the zone to serve Summertown, an additional area of Oxford, from Sunday April 21st. The zone expansion forms part of its growth plans which have also seen an investment in five new jobs and two new buses this year, with support from Oxford Science Park.

PickMeUp, managed by the Oxford Bus Company on behalf of Go-Ahead Group, is the largest scheme of its kind to be launched by a UK bus company. It enables passengers to request a mini-bus pick-up within 15 minutes at a virtual bus stop using a mobile phone app. The service provides the flexibility to choose both the start and end point of journeys within the Eastern Arc of the city. Technology enables passengers to be matched with others making similar journeys to enable ride sharing.

PickMeUp operates in an area with a high concentration of car use, with more than nine out of ten commuters travelling to work in their own vehicles. The initiative is intended to tackle worsening traffic congestion and a shortage of parking as Oxford’s economy grows.

Go-Ahead partnered with cutting edge New York ride-sharing start up Via to launch the service. Via is a global leader in ride-sharing technology with operations in New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, London, and Amsterdam, and a growing number of partnerships with cities, public transit authorities, and private operators around the world.

Katy Taylor, Commercial and Customer Director at Go-Ahead Group, said: “Passengers have embraced this new idea and we’re looking at ways to introduce demand-responsive bus services elsewhere in the UK. We’re always keen to find ways to meet customers’ needs through better use of transport and innovation.

“Passengers and local businesses have told us they want more flexibility and greater connectivity and we’re working to deliver on those. It’s good to see that PickMeUp is running ahead of expectations – many of the people using this service would otherwise have been travelling by private car.”

PickMeUp operates between 6.00am and 11.00pm Monday to Friday and between 7am and midnight on Saturday and 9am to 9pm on Sundays, with an average response time of 10 to 15 minutes. An introductory fare of £2.50 per journey is still being charged, with a surcharge of £2.50 if the journey could be made via an existing Oxford Bus Company bus route and the walk is 200 metres or less. Multi-journey passes are available as well as corporate packages.