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Demand-responsive minibus service launched in Watford

A new demand-responsive minibus service, where customers can book in advance from the comfort of their home and get picked up at a ‘virtual stop’ nearby, has been launched in Watford.

The ArrivaClick service, launched by bus company Arriva, responds to demand from passengers and the routes they want to take.

The launch follows the introduction of similar demand-responsive services in other parts of the country which have enjoyed mixed results. Services run by other operators have been withdrawn after being found to be uneconomical.

ArrivaClick, however, successfully operates services in two other areas, Leicester and Liverpool, although the latter is currently suspended as the result of the coronavirus pandemic

Subsidised by Watford Borough Council, the service is designed to be an affordable mode of transport (priced between a bus and taxi fare at between £1 and £2.50 per mile depending on the time of day) and it can be booked and paid for via a free smartphone app.

Three minibuses are now in operation in the town, but at a reduced capacity of a maximum of four people at any one time to comply with social distancing rules. Each bus will have comfortable seating, tables, free Wi-Fi, USB chargers and air conditioning.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said, “It is important we offer new ways to travel around the town so we can cut congestion and make our air cleaner.”