ViaVan and Stagecoach launch on-demand transport service in Tees Valley
Posted: 3 March 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
The pilot service – Tees Flex – aims to connect more rural communities in the North East region of England and will run for three years.
ViaVan, the joint venture between the global on-demand shared transport firm Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans, has announced a new demand responsive transport system in Tees Valley in partnership with Stagecoach Group, the public transport provider in the United Kingdom.
Called Tees Flex, the new service aims to provide a new form of public transport focused on comfort, flexibility, and affordability, while reducing traffic congestion and pollution caused by carbon emissions.
Tees Flex is powered by nine new Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, funded by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. The on-demand service aims to provide reliable, convenient transport for residents in more isolated communities across the region, with some rides costing 50p – or free for some residents.
Using the new Tees Flex app (iOS and Android), riders will be able to hail a ride from their smartphone, via a website, or over the phone. ViaVan’s algorithms will reportedly enable multiple riders to seamlessly share the vehicle. The technology will direct passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.
“Over the next few years, we’re increasingly going to see cities and towns asking how they can provide their residents with transportation that provides the same ease and convenience as private car ownership, and yet still achieves the same environmental and congestion-reducing benefits of mass transport,” said Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan. “We are proud to partner with Stagecoach to provide residents of Tees Valley with a convenient, affordable, and congestion-reducing shared transportation alternative that creates a viable alternative to private car usage.”
With the launch of Tees Flex, local residents in more rural communities, from students and families to the elderly, will have the opportunities to get around the region quickly, easily, cheaply and in comfort, according to ViaVan.
The pilot, which will run for three years, aims to test the feasibility and receival of the service with the potential for it to be extended across the region if successful.