The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has announced approaching trials of digital demand responsive bus services that will use an app to support mobility-as-a-service.
It said the first trial is scheduled for the autumn as part of the Connecting Leeds programme and will be focused on specific communities in the east of the city.
Further trials are planned in Wakefield and York.
In addition, WYCA is preparing to publish tenders for bus operators to run digital demand responsive services that are compatible with the region’s MCard and national concessionary schemes.
The authority is aiming to fund the project as part of its £31 million Future Mobility Zone bid to the Department for Transport.
It is based on developing the concept of mobility-as-a-service, which enables people to play their journeys through a range of transport methods, usually through a smartphone app or website.
YWCA said it envisages that most people will use an app to book, pay and receive confirmation for their journeys, along with a time and nearby location for pick-up by a minibus. The services will run without the use of cash.
Councillor Kim Groves, chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport committee, said: “We know that in some areas a more flexible approach is needed to meeting passengers’ travel requirements.
“As part of our work through the Connecting Leeds programme, we will trial this, passenger focused approach that provides people with the journey options that meet their lifestyle. If we are successful in our Future Mobility Zone bid, we will roll out more services throughout the region.
“By filling the existing gaps in public transport provision with these new style services, we aim to reduce people’s reliance on car journeys for local but vital journeys, by providing them with a convenient, value-for-money alternative.
“Trials of additional digital demand-responsive bus services that will complement the regular network are part of a move towards a mobility-as-a-service approach, which would see people being able to plan and pay for their journeys by accessing a range of options, including public transport, cycling, car-sharing, taxi or use of a car club vehicle, in one place.”
Image by Stefan Baguette, own work, CC BY-SA 3.0