THE NEW BOD (Bromsgrove On Demand) bus will launch next month – operating between the railway station, town centre and surrounding areas.
The pilot scheme is aimed at reducing congestion and providing improved public transport options for local residents.
The service, which will be delivered in partnership with Via, will be available to book through a mobile app and will operate from Monday to Saturday, between 7am and 7pm.
The Standard broke the news of the new community shuttle bus last month with the district council ringfencing £250,000 in this year’s budget for electric vehicles, an app and touch-screens at stations so people can summon it.
App users can suggest their pick-up and drop-off locations when booking and the system will then direct people to a ‘virtual bus stop’, enabling quick and efficient shared trips without any detours.
Via’s technology is already being used across more than 200 cities and transport authorities around the world, including Transport for Wales, Milton Keynes Council, Stagecoach, Go-Coach and Arriva.
Coun Adam Kent, Bromsgrove District Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration, said: “The pandemic has shown us the need for innovative ideas and this will be the first of its kind in Worcestershire.
“I’m absolutely delighted to see the launch of BOD happening.
“This scheme is ideal for bridging the gap between the railway station, the town centre and residential areas – that all-important first and last mile of the journey which is often the reason why people don’t use public transport.”
Bromsgrove District Council leader Coun Karen May, said: “Not only is this brilliant news for Bromsgrove but it enhances the sustainability of our town centre, linking it with rail and our local residents and villages.
“Coun Kent and I are keen supporters of this service and we have worked closely together with county colleagues to make this service a reality.”
Coun Alan Amos, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways, said: “The County Council has worked closely with local district council colleagues and I’m really pleased that we’re nearing a position to launch this new flexible on demand transport service in Bromsgrove.
“We’re continually monitoring current public transport usage and looking at new ways to help people travel around the county and this includes making use of the latest technology.
“We’re already making a number of improvements in Bromsgrove to reduce congestion and provide better transport options and this on demand service will help to enhance this even more.”
More information about the app, the cost, exact coverage and who will operate the service will be made available nearer the launch in April.