A dozen DRT developments

Tuesday 20th December 2022

It’s one of those weeks for end of year reviews and news round ups so I thought a few updates on how Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) is going would be in order particularly as the DfT and so many local authorities have such high hopes for it.

2022 has seen nine new DRT schemes introduced, one revamped, two change hands and two withdrawals. Here’s a dozen recent developments which are worth recording ……

1 Following the withdrawal of Fflecsi from Newport and its replacement by the return of scheduled timetable buses in September comes news Suffolk County Council is withdrawing its Katch branded scheme based on Wickham Market. Introduced in May 2021 for a twelve month “pilot” (which was extended by seven months in May) time has now run out as it runs its last trip this week. It’s not clear what will happen to the two electric powered minibuses introduced amid much fanfare promoting connections with trains at the railway station, sited some distance from the town centre, but the idea that Katch would be a “pilot” for similar schemes across the county now seems to have hit the ground.

2 John Geddes has recently produced a fascinating analysis of North Yorkshire County Council’s YorBus scheme based on Bedale. That’s the one introduced in July 2021 where it was announced revenue from passengers was only covering 6% of the costs. John’s eye opening analysis can be found here. A key finding is the two YorBus vehicles carry passengers for only a third of their time and carried more than one passenger (or a group booking together) for just 8% of the time. John points out a single taxi could have been used 97.5% of the time passengers were carried at significant less cost.

3 The Arriva Click scheme introduced in Watford in July 2020 and spearheaded by that town’s Mayor with funding from the Borough Council (and no involvement from the Local Transport Authority, Hertfordshire County Council) is carrying just 10% of the anticipated number of passengers in the Business Plan, halfway through its third of four years operation according to recent reports.

There’s no hope of achieving the original budget by July 2024 when the funding ends. Here’s a table showing the sorry state of affairs in detail since the service began in July 2020.

4 The Sunday Times carried a piece written by Nicholas Hellen, the paper’s Transport Editor, at the end of last month extolling the fantasy virtues of DRT being a “Uber style” solution to the rural transport problem having been briefed by Padam Mobility (one of the tech companies peddling the ride sharing software) about how great it all is. Which of course it is for companies like Padam Mobility, but not so good for passengers wanting a decent bus service they can rely on. Nicholas contacted me for my take which I duly gave him but he told me the paper had a policy of being supportive of new innovative tech based ventures so any negativity would be edited out. I’m not sure why the Sunday Times thinks DRT is anything new or innovative. Dial-A-Ride has been going for nigh on fifty years and its modern incarnation, DRT, has been consistently failing since Arriva began the Sittingbourne escapade in March 2017.

5 Interestingly, CPT’s Graham Vidler told Nicholas Hellen Government funding committed to prop up these money wasting schemes is now of the order of £50 million when you add up all the proposals in Bus Service Improvement Plans as well as the Rural Mobility Fund. Hence the £50 million figure quoted at the beginning of the Sunday Times article.

6 The Scotsman carried an article last week revealing that “more than half of Insch residents would prefer a timetabled bus service to the current Ready2Go on-demand service”. Ready2Go was introduced in August 2021 on a one-year pilot which was extended for a second year in 2022. An Aberdeenshire Council survey revealed 55 per cent of respondents would prefer a timetabled bus service, and 63 per cent of respondents were unable to book the trips they wanted. Local people I spoke to when I travelled on the service soon after it commenced in 2021 said exactly the same. A local councillor has called for the service to be withdrawn and replaced with a timetabled service.

7 Oxfordshire County Council has announced it has scrapped plans to convert the western end of route 250 (Bicester to Oxford) to DRT (see my previous blog on this) following feedback from residents. How refreshing to see sense prevail at last and a local authority is not taken in by the DRT mirage.

8 Never wanting to miss an opportunity to try DRT out in the real world, when I was in Milton Keynes last month for the Modern Railways exhibition and conference I thought I’d use the town’s Via run MKConnect scheme to take me from the hotel where I stayed overnight to the conference venue at the Arena. Here’s what happened.

MK Connect doesn’t allow booking in advance so you have to take your chance at the time you want to travel. I tried booking three times; first time at 08:32 ….

…. but sadly MKConnect was “experiencing a technical issue”….

… but undeterred, I tried again a minute later at 08:33 and luckily the “technical issue” had been quickly fixed but unluckily MKConnect was “experiencing very high demand and all our seats are filled” ….

… so I tried for a third time at 08:51 and was offered a pick up in 32 minutes which would have been too late, so I caught the shuttle bus laid on by the conference organiser which got me there much quicker.

After arriving, out of curiosity I tried again at 09:43 for a return journey back to the hotel and was offered a pick up in 43 minutes. How are you supposed to plan your day with such an unpredictable service?

I gave it one more try when leaving the conference at 12:30 for a ride back to the station but once again MKConnect was “experiencing very high demand and all our seats are filled”. Useless.

9 Ironically a recent update from Milton Keynes City Council on how MK Connect is performing reports that over 1,400 trips a day are made on the service with 97.6% of demand met – I was obviously very unlucky in my recent experience then. The average wait to be picked up is 27 minutes – again, it must have been my bad luck to be offered waits of 32 and 43 minutes

10 Sevenoaks based Go Coach has announced changes to its Go2 demand responsive network from 3rd January including a reduction in hours and area served including West Kingsdown, Swanley and Edenbridge no longer being served.

The email explaining the changes states “all good DRT schemes need to evolve over time. Its not like fixed line buses. They need to change to stay fresh and serve the community in the best way possible. We are facing funding cuts to go2 due to Kent County Council being overspent in their support of local bus services. We need to concentrate on what go2 is good at. The service is centred round Sevenoaks and outlying villages providing social mobility to those without their own private transport and FMLM (first mile / last mile) support to the main area. Please see revised operating area highlighted in purple on the map.”

11 Leicestershire County Council’s Fox Connect scheme got going in July this year and figures have just been released of the use being made of the service from each village served for the three months between August and October.

Stony Stanton and Sapcote are leading the field with impressive growth in October. The total number of journeys in October at 805 on the face of it looks impressive – especially compared to 311 in September – but when divided by the 26 operational days in the month gives 31 journeys a day across 3 minibuses is 10 per bus, and across a 13.5 hour day is less than one passenger per bus per hour. If that was a conventional rural bus survive it wouldn’t survive much longer.

12 I’ve noticed how the narrative surrounding DRT has altered in the almost six years since it began in its current form in Sittingbourne. Then it was all about being an innovative solution for small towns that would provide a commercial alternative to struggling conventional bus routes. It didn’t, as Arriva found out, having killed off a bus route previously run by Chalkwell.

Following on from this came the idea DRT could solve gaps in large town networks characterised by radial routes but lacking cross suburb connections leading to optimistic launches in Oxford, Liverpool, Sutton, Ealing and Watford. It didn’t.

When these all failed it was meant to be a solution to the First Mile, Last Mile conundrum providing integration for communities lying off line with inter-urban routes but that hadn’t work in Bristol some years earlier.

Then it was the salvation of the ‘rural transport problem’ and many even opined after initial pump priming funding, it would be a viable proposition and mean local authority funding wouldn’t be needed. That soon changed to ‘of course it will always need funding’ err, in that case why do it, as conventional bus routes offer reliability and certainty (always top of passengers’ priorities) whereas DRT offers a lottery of uncertainties.

Now, I see the latest take as quoted in the Sunday Times article is that the fares paid should be more akin to minicab/taxi fares. If that’s the case then we might as well just not bother with buses and leave the market to taxis.

Meanwhile 2023 will see more DRT schemes established for the financial benefit of the ride sharing software tech companies, for the PR spin from misguided local authority leaders, officers and DfT Ministers and to the detriment of passengers.

Roger French

Blogging timetable: 06:00 TThS

44 thoughts on “A dozen DRT developments

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  1. What to do with the surplus minibuses? – well presumably DRT schemes are not the only users of minibuses, and there must be a regular second-hand market. Minibuses were very popular at one time – Harry Blundred and all that – but I was never sure whether it was the buses themselves, or the better frequencies. And routes do exist which pass down narrow lanes or streets, for which a minibus is better suited. Maybe ‘mini-express’ buses would more easily overtake on crowded roads and arrive sooner than a full-size bus.

    How about getting the rail operators to improve their product and passenger friendliness by providing that last mile link where railway stations are a mile or more from the town centre, and regular bus routes don’t run or don’t connect?

    Maybe minibuses also have a use providing more frequent links within a network where the bus company would otherwise doom users to a low frequency with standard buses? The benefit of a minimum ‘bus every 10 minutes’ (say) on all routes is that passengers can easily travel anywhere on a city/town network – just like on the tube (and some bus routes) in London. But that would mean the companies giving up their obsession with valuing each route merely by its own takings, and not looking at its value to the whole network.

    Thanks for keeping up the reports on the weird world of DRT – Happy Christmas!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, but you can’t get away from the fundamental point that somebody needs to pay the cost of a driver. When I started out in the industry, it was always pointed out that the driver’s costs had to be borne – and a minibus doesn’t come with a mini-driver.

      OK, Harry employed cheaper labour, but he had the crowds in Exeter, Oxford, Portsmouth, etc. to contribute to the costs. In most of the areas highlighted by Roger, the minibuses are chasing penny numbers of passengers with no prospect of covering costs. The money needs come from either the passengers (high taxi rate fares) or generous bailouts from the public purse (that’s you and me through taxes).

      At least a proper bus (omnibus – for all) stands a chance of grouping people into loads that might meet the driver’s costs.

      Sorry, for me, if it’s not a bus, it has to be a taxi – not an expensive waste of space and resource.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Something I’ve just recalled is that Blundred also replaced buses on his Devon rural network with Mercedes minibuses at higher frequencies. He was quoted in saying that conventional buses were over engineered and he preferred something more “agricultural”. The Mercedes were simple, robust, and economical to operate. I believe his Devon network was entirely commercial yet still featured late evening journeys out from Exeter to surrounding towns and villages.

        In an article in Buses Magazine back then it also mentioned up to date bus stop timetable displays, regularly restocked leaflet racks in local hotels, express buses that bypassed some villages to attract commuters inbound to Exeter in the mornings and outbound in the evenings. I got the impression at the time that some in the industry poo pooed him for not running “proper” buses.

        1986 Mercedes Benz/Reeve Burgess, F720 FDV, Devon General.


    2. Those rural routes would not support as 19 minute frequency. The cost savings are not that high. It can save a small amount on fuel and cleaning of the bus and the cost of the bus and can save on garage space

      Another problem is they tend to be cramped with little space for luggage. Shopping and buggies and wheelchairs

      Probably midi bus with a 30 minute frequency would be better. The exact frequency depending on the timings for the route

      Rail links are difficult in rural areas in many case the station i a long way from the town or village it serves. Outside of the peaks the numbers travelling to the station in most cases would be tiny


  2. For most of these DRT schemes, it would probably be cheaper just to issue vouchers to use local taxi services, perhaps depending on age / means etc. That might I suppose fall foul of competition law.

    These kind of DRT schemes sound exciting and sexy to politicians and indeed transport planners! – they involve things like ‘innovations’ (actually as Roger French says, largely not!) and ‘algorithms’!

    I keep meaning to use the Sevenoaks Go Coach service, perhaps to get to a country walk, but I haven’t managed to yet. That I suppose tends to back up the idea that such services will ever only be used by a minority of knowledgeable local people and not visitors to the area.

    Their main advantage would seem to be to drag some of the irrational and inconsistent attitude to heavily subsidising public transport from its usual location in rail and tram services!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The government. LTA’s and even local council seem to think these are the solution. The statistics tough say other whys with well over 70% of the schemes failing. In spite of this money is still thrown at these schemes


  3. Well said, Roger – DRT is the classic example of a solution looking for a problem. Nonsense on stilts! When will government wake up to the climate emergency and scrap all new road schemes (£27.5Bn earmarked) and invest in decent public transport. Just learn from Switzerland and The Netherlands!


    1. Be careful what you wish for.

      The Dutch smartcard hides the deletion of integrated ticketing, with each operator charging and capping separately; even for rail journeys you have to check out and check back in when changing trains if the operators are different: there’s no true through ticketing any more. For people without the smartcard, single fares can both be surprisingly high and inconsistent; as an example, Arriva in Flevoland has a flat fare of €5,11 for rural services (but in North Brabant it’s €4,59?!). In Friesland it’s €2,35 to the next settlement then €5,50 and up to €10 – and that’s for a journey length which Stagecoach East Midlands would charge at £4.50…

      The Swiss system is great as an example of an integrated network, but the sheer number of cars on Swiss roads suggests that plenty of Swiss people don’t consider it as meeting their needs. The most recent data from ACEA*, for 2020, is 549 cars per 1000 Swiss inhabitants – and that’s higher than the UK at 544/1000!

      I wish we would scrap new road schemes in this country but a huge majority of the population are clearly addicted to their cars and it shows in public policy as well as the regular, hysterical media claims about “war on motorists” every time something awful like making people comply with speed limits is suggested. There’s no way politicians are going to go against that; they want to be re-elected, after all.

      * https://www.acea.auto/files/ACEA-report-vehicles-in-use-europe-2022.pdf


      1. According to this source Swiss passenger rail has a 20% modal share compared to the UK with 8.5%.

        I heard it once said that the Swiss have more cars per head of population than the UK but they use them less. The modal share statistics seem to back that up. The national clock face timetable with timed cross platform connections plus connecting buses, etc, probably has something to do with it one would think.


        Liked by 1 person

      2. “According to this source Swiss passenger rail has a 20% modal share compared to the UK with 8.5%.”

        British people are addicted to their cars, that’s for sure, which is something I wish could be changed, but it’s also my experience that Swiss people are similar to Britons in that they use trains but not buses, and their trains are generally used for commuting or “long distance” inter-urban travel with people driving to the stations.
        Swiss buses outside the urban areas (and a lot of rural trains) were very lightly loaded when I travelled on them; just like here it seems clear that the main traffic is school journeys followed by peak commuting and the rest of the day is just there because “That’s how we do it” rather than because it’s the best way of serving the communities.

        The Swiss transport professionals I knew in those halcyon days before Covid were always mildly amused by the way people from other countries lauded their system; they certainly didn’t think it was as amazing as outsiders do. Rigid, expensive to run, too difficult to make changes, subject to funding challenges as cantons, operators and the federal government argue about who pays for what, and so on; the complaints were surprisingly similar to those you’d hear from British transport professionals…


  4. Back in the 1980s, there was a Transport Tokens scheme. Oldies in some council areas were given an allocation of tokens which they used to buy bus or taxi rides …. thereby getting over the problem of “pass but no bus”. The taxi fares for tokenholders were suppressed to something near bus fare rates.
    The bus driver treated them as cash, and the bus company collected them and converted them to money every month or so.
    It wasn’t possible to use them away from the issuing council area, but back then bus passes weren’t widely valid anyway.
    Low techie techie, but it worked!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It still exists in some rural areas. In areas where public transport is non exist ant they can choose to take tokens rather than a concessionary bus pass. In the SCC area they can opt for a £100 of taxi vouchers. That seems to short change them as I think I read it typically costs about £300 a year for a pass


    2. Ahhh, tokens…

      National Transport Tokens (eventually a Stagecoach subsidiary) were available into the 2000s, and were usable anywhere which accepted them as all tokens were identical. I recall some areas giving out a pittance in tokens – in Staffordshire the annual allocation was about £15, which even in the mid- 1990s when I was working in the area at best paid for one return to town each month!

      Other areas had local tokens, Lincolnshire authorities issuing paper tokens valid only for journeys to or from their local area until the national concessionary pass scheme came in, and other authorities issued passes giving discounts or varying amounts of free travel.
      I recall a Midland Red West fares book which had about 30 pages of instructions on how to deal with all the various different schemes, which ranged from county-wide schemes down to parish council level schemes.


      1. I remember tokens in North Wales in the late 1970s. The District Councillors found out that they were being traded in the pubs etc and were being used as an alternative currency. Such activity led to looking at alternatives, including a separate OAP bus network. Rhuddlan District Council certainly had such a network covering Rhyl and Prestatyn using vehicles contracted in from an independent operator.


  5. In terms of the Fox Connect I suspect the big jump by October at Sharnford, Sapcote, Stoney Stanton & Thurlaston were down to Arriva withdrawing the regular bus service linking these villages to Hinckley, Fosse Park & Leicester City Centre at the start of October – previously hourly but a shadow of its former self by the time it was withdrawn (even then those numbers look like a lot less than the bus was carrying in the past from those villages).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You weren’t unlucky in Milton Keynes. That is normal experience. It’s not clear how they calculate the stats but I guess people giving up due to technical issues, no seats being available or 30+ minute wait times are excluded and ONLY the journeys booked, accepted and completed are counted. 27 minute wait time is the same – it’s 27 minutes ‘on average’ after you have actually managed to get through the technical and high demand issues. But 27 minutes is a lot higher than the 10-15 minutes promised at the launch.

    In my area of MK, due to a 4 month bridge closure we were unable to even get offered a van as the app still thought the real busses which had been curtailed over half a mile away were still running along the closed road so we were constantly told to use them instead. Contacting both the council and the app providers (Via) revealed that they were unable to alter the software to take in to account ‘short term’ route changes or curtailments. Pathetic state of affairs.

    Useless is the mildest adjective I have heard used to describe the service. Only MK council seem to think it is anything better.


  7. I, too attended the Expo in Milton Keynes on the day you did, and saw your excellent presentation. I didn’t catch the shuttle bus but drove as I live in MK. My one experience of MK Connect was to enter my journey details into the app and be told to catch two buses to my destination. To be fair, the busues did run and the connection worked. Frankly a DRT with no advance booking and an average wit time of 27 minutes isn’t very good in my view. This implies that half the bookers had to wait more than 27 minutes and, as has been said, this disounts those who gave up for various techical capacity or lengthy wait reasons.


  8. Well said, Andrew- when shall we get a Government who pays for proper public transport as in some Continental countries? Having said that we in Fleet would welcome a town timetabled minibus service to use those surplus minibuses.
    Will Hampshire step up?


  9. I think there’s a psychological aspect to DRT that is quite obvious, but seldom taken into account.

    I live quite close to the centre of a biggish town, but up a steep hill. A bus comes up about four times a day, and I can sometimes time my business so that it is convenient to catch the bus home.

    I wouldn’t dream of trying to summon up a bus especially for my needs. I’d walk up.


  10. These ridiculous “Emperors New Clothes” DRT schemes will continue to start up (and die) at great public expense merely because, and Covid speeded things up, bus travel has become a total irrelevance to a vast swathe of the population. Experienced Transport planners in County Councils and certainly the DfT are no more, mainly replaced by tech-crazy youngsters who devise such schemes but most certainly never use them themselves except for the photo-opportunities alongside grinning Politicians on Day One.

    Of course subsidised taxis are the only answer in deeply rural areas if a timetables service really cannot be supported, and they are hardly cost-effective. Those of us who do actually regularly travel on rural buses know only too well that a proportion of the diminishing numbers of passengers do not have the latest “smart” phone and would probably be unable to cope with app based transport if they did! And if they cannot make it work in Sutton and Watford, it certainly won’t work anywhere else.


    1. Those service in Suffolk re just a mess. In addition to Katch it has 5 DRT service that appear to cover 5 District council areas. They seem to market then under the Connecting Communities b rand although marketing is stretch it the name only appears to be used on their web site. They actually operate as 5 totally sperate service with a variety of anonymous vehicles ill suited for the purpose
      Each area has its own call centre (Well someone answering the phone. They have their own call centre operating hours and own service operating hours)

      They also have an archaic online booking system where you fill in a huge form to book a trip and them some has to call you have to conform he trip or not

      Marketing and publicity is about zero

      It is a good example of how not to do things and they spend close on £1M for this mess

      How much are these services used? I have no ideas as they seem to give no information out on that. Possibly looking at the public accounts of the organisations may give a clue


  11. It would be interesting to see a detailed log of the trips. You might find most of the journeys could be covered by a fixed route


  12. I don’t live too far from Bedale and it’s the first time I’d heard about the DRT scheme there.I’d guess it’ll fail but let’s hope that it doesn’t undermine the normal scheduled bus services in the process particularly the Northallerton to Hawes Sunday only bus although as it’s unlikely that the DRT runs on a Sunday that might be okay.North Yorkshire County Council doesn’t like none park n ride/parkway public transport and has probably set up the DRT scheme to drain money from the real bus services and then when it shuts down say that they don’t have money for subsiding local bus routes.Although they seem to have money for yet another parkway on the Scarborough to York rail line.


    1. I’ve heard of YorBus and I live at the other end of the country (though I am originally from the area). It doesn’t run on a Sunday and in any case, it runs south of Bedale around Masham and Ripon so what it is really threatening is the 144 and potentially the 159. It’s simply that it’s free money and they can show they are “doing something”.

      The new station at Haxby is being pushed by York City Council (unitary authority) rather than NYCC.


  13. Surely the answer to Roger’s conundrum is obvious, especially at this time of year. Jingle bells. The Government just needs a contract with Father Christmas and his reindeer. A ride whenever and wherever we want, and unlimited presents to boot. After all as we’re always so keen to demonstrate, we’ll believe anything.


  14. An excellent and thought-provoking article as always, Roger.

    One of the reasons that the Ealing DRT scheme failed was the lack of publicity for it. I live in Ealing, within the zone that the service covered, but I never once saw a poster for the service (either at a bus stop or on a bus), never had a leaflet through my letterbox about it, and never saw an advert in the local paper.

    The buses themselves were often in evidence – usually parked up with no passengers. But they didn’t stand out; they should have been shouting at prospective customers but were completely nondescript.

    And the other failure was that the zone covered was very small. I never came up with a journey that would work for me that could not be done on a conventional bus. The journey that would have been useful, across but within Ealing Borough, would have been from Acton Vale to Northolt – but the zone didn’t stretch to either extremity.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks for the link to the YorBus analysis. The only time I’ve tried to use it, there was nothing available from Masham to Bedale for the last hour of operation. It was a Saturday night, no taxis available, so I was stranded in Masham until my partner could collect me. Admittedly, there are far worse places to be stranded than the home of two breweries. Dales and District’s operations are poor, but at least there’s a timetable. YorBus seems to be pot luck.


  16. Some years ago there was a German (?) TV advert for BMW showing a smartly dressed businessman (it was a man) leaving his house and walking past the car parked in the driveway to catch public transport instead. The clear implication that this was someone well able to afford such a car but who chose to use it appropriately – not a slave to it. As pointed out by others on this forum the car ownership level in Switzerland (and Germany) may be high but, wherever you live, just because you own a car does not necessarily mean you have to use it at every opportunity.

    When I worked in the local authority world I well remember a conversation with a transport planner from another council who felt that painting buses in an exciting livery was what was needed to increase patronage and achieve modal switch. I suggested that getting buses to run reliably, to an advertised timetable, free from congestion delays might be more useful as a first step. He did not use the bus, but I did. This sums up the attitude behind splurging £50m on “exciting and innovative” DRT schemes, by people who do not use buses, but luckily for us are able to “think outside the box”, unlike one trick pony tired old transport professionals.


    1. A pseudo environmentally friendly advert as from a pseudo environmentally friendly county.Germany churns out cars like there’s no tomorrow which there probably won’t be if they keep churning out cars.Even if this fellow doesn’t use his car it’s still talking up a huge amount of space.Generally ,apart from ferries and planes,the car set will only use trains and they’ll drive to a station,these days probably a huge unsightly parkway, and then catch a train so the car won’t be sat in a drive unused.The only buses such people might consider is park n Ride.


      1. Your comment sounds remarkably judgemental, which attitude I feel is a real problem with so many transport planners and commentators, because they are vastly out of touch with most ordinary people. No one ever forced people to buy cars, they chose to do so as soon as they could afford to, because they are provide a far superior and flexible form of transport than the inflexible alternatives. (Cycling perhaps comes close in some cities, and even does better given congestion, but has its own obvious disadvantages for the whole travelling population).

        I might agree that there is a huge amount of hypocrisy on show in the West on this subject, as there is with most environmental posturing. Yes, the Germans build cars, as do the Japanese, South Koreans, Italians etc etc. I’m not sure how many politicians would turn down increasing the size of our car industry (providing those much desired ‘well paid jobs’) if they were able to.

        The richer we are, the more we consume, the data is very clear on that. We can reduce our carbon footprints significantly by living as Malians or Afghans, but not to any significant extent by using the train occasionally, stopping flying and perhaps buying a Tesla (I believe in the US 90% of owners own another car!).

        In cities cars do undoubtedly pose significant congestion and pollution issues and the benefits are perhaps outweighed by the benefits, and private cars are usually already heavily restricted in various ways. I don’t have a car, but that is solely because I live in London which has a pretty good transport system, plus the costs of having a car sitting around doing nothing most of the time. It is a very different situation in small towns and rural areas which we are talking about here.


  17. Thanks. Very interesting point about the Sunday Times journalism, i.e. “your view doesn’t match our editorial policy so we wont publish” – then others read the newspaper article and “echo chamber” it as fact.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. High Wycombe DRT

    They are claiming they have had over 10,000 passengers since the service started at the end of September. THis is an incredibly high number for a modest size town


    1. High Wycombe is a very hilly town with a fairly rubbish Arriva town network, the interurban routes have a variety of operators, some better quality than Arriva but mostly not in the part of HW the DRT covers.
      It also has a below par road network, away from the motorway and other trunk roads because of the terrain, so it is prime territory for an urban DRT


  19. DRT just doesn’t work and it is time that these silly schemes stopped before everybody is driven to buying or accessing a car. Or is DRT an intermediate stage between proper timetabled bus services and no public transport at all?


  20. I live in a different part of England in 2021 my council released a 300 page document about implementing Drt buses in the county. 2022 nothing happened.


  21. Hello Roger
    We did meet a few years ago . I’m the ex Area Mgr BSK and Salisbury of the 1980s. I was brought up deep in Southdown territory and with Brighton corpn. Transport etc.
    could you kindly give me a lead into the right level of mgt at Chichester to whom I wish to suggest some service tweaks to restore interchanges at Fleet?
    I love your blogs which follow my interests and observations. I have seen many of your subject towns this year and agree so heartedly with your sage comments.
    Regards, Gerald Daniels
    Prop, Crookham Travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doesn’t surprise me as I’ve only ever twice seen an passengers on it.Think how the money could have been better used for normal services such as extending the Paul’s Travel Hartlepool Elwick service to Dalton Piercy ,etc..


  22. Essex probably leads the field in DRT operations. The new DigiGo is but one of the variety of DRT services operating in the County. Essex DRT is also operated by Epping Community Transport, Arrow Taxis (Not Ace Taxis), and Essex and Suffolk DaRT. DaRT has been operating in Essex for more than a decade, and I believe, converted services from subsidy to full commercial operation, such as the DaRT 99 which has been running commercially for nearly ten years, and only received a very small subsidy for its first two years of operation.

    DaRT has experimented with various types of service, from full DRT to conventional timetables, with flexible routes, part flexible routes, taxi-supported routes and other types in between. But, they do not use the mega-expensive new wonder software packages. You can book with an App if you wish, but most people just phone up and book where needed. Does anyone know a DRT in the UK that has moved from being supported to commercial, or indeed a DRT that has been running that long?


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