‘On-demand’ bus service being considered for Norton Canes

A new on-demand bus service could be sought in Norton Canes village, if it is established there is enough interest within the local community.

Following successful pilot schemes in other towns across the UK, Norton Canes Neighbourhood Plan is asking whether a ring and ride or app-led service could offer a feasible transport solution for villagers and have instigated talks with bus companies

The service could operate similarly to Uber taxis, using a smartphone app or call-to-book system.  Journeys would be matched with others heading to similar locations, and routes customised to suit passengers to get them to their destination in the shortest and fastest time, rather than being determined by a pre-set schedule.

A survey has been initiated as part of the Neighbourhood Plan consultation process to find out if this would be a welcome initiative, after the option was raised by a working group looking into transport.

The idea came from an ‘ArrivaClick’ pilot scheme that ran throughout last year in Sittingbourne, Kent.

“The ArrivaClick service has been hailed a massive success after a trial period of a year in Sittingbourne,” said Parish Councillor John Preece. “As part of our Neighbourhood Plan, we want to address any shortcomings in the available public transport services in and around the village, and this sounds like a fantastic, modern-day solution for communities like ours.

“We’ve created a survey for local residents to see what their thoughts are on the current bus service in the village and find out if there is a demand for an alternative solution.

“We’ll use our research findings to lead discussions with the County Council and bus companies and find a suitable way forward that meets the needs of Norton Canes residents and workers.”

The ArrivaClick pilot scheme in Sittingbourne showed that:

  • The equivalent of 12 per cent of Sittingbourne’s population downloaded the app.
  • Six in 10 ArrivaClick customers (61 per cent) used the service a few times a week or more, with just under half (43 per cent) adopting the service for their daily commute.
  • One third (34 per cent) of customers used the service for leisure trips, while just over three in 10 (31 per cent) used ArrivaClick to visit friends and relatives.
  • More than half (52 per cent) of customers switched from private motor transport, including taxis (22 per cent) driving their own car (18 per cent) or being a passenger in a car (12 per cent).
  • Almost nine in 10 (8.9/10) customers would recommend using the service to a friend.

The Norton Canes public transport survey can be accessed via the parish council website at www.nortoncanesparishcouncil.co.uk and on the Norton Canes Neighbourhood Plan Facebook page.

Alternatively, printed copies can be obtained from the Norton Canes community library.

For more information on the Norton Canes Neighbourhood Plan, contact Glenis Turner on 01543 276812.