Transport for London (TfL) have just launched a consultation on their plans to trial a demand responsive bus service in Sutton. We need as many disabled and older people as possible to respond to the consultation to ensure the trial is as accessible as possible, and that any future plans for a demand responsive bus service in London do not exclude disabled and older people.
What is the trial?
The research trial, which will last for 12 months, will run in Sutton with the aim of helping TfL understand if there is potential for a demand response bus service. Sutton has been selected for the trial area because it is an area of high car dependency and has been deemed by TfL as less viable for other public transport modes, including more bus services.
By using a smartphone app or a telephone booking line, users will be able to book a seat on the service which uses a flexible route, picking up and dropping off other passengers along the way. All the vehicles being used in the trial are fully wheelchair accessible. Paying users will be charged a fare which TfL say will cost more than a typical bus journey. The Freedom Pass will be accepted on the service.
Within this consultation, TfL wants to:
� Understand the level of interest in this type of service
� Understand any concerns or objections to the details of the proposed service area
� Identify any issues not yet already considered.
Our concerns and demands
Whilst we welcome innovative transport solutions we believe that TfL should carefully consider how new services will impact on disabled and older people.
We have the following specific concerns about the demand responsive bus trial:
� Downloading a smartphone app to make bookings is not an option for many people, especially those who do not own smartphones or are not technologically savvy. The telephone booking system is a good alternative however it might make the booking and live update process more complex and confuse some users
� TfL has not satisfactorily explained why introducing more buses in Sutton would not be viable so we are sceptical of their reasoning for trialing a new service. Less connected areas of outer London, such as Sutton, would benefit from more regular bus services rather than a demand response bus service, particularly as London’s bus network is already one of the most accessible in the world
� The results of the research trial are unlikely to reflect what impact a full-scale demand responsive bus service would have on disabled and older people. In order to ensure that the conditions of the trial match the reality, TfL must commit to ensuring that every vehicle delivering a demand responsive service in the future is wheelchair accessible, just like in the trial
Take action – Respond to the consultation
It is important that you share your own views. If you would like to contribute to this investigation please respond to TfL’s consultation by Wednesday 20th March:
• By completing an online survey: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/demand-responsive-bus-trial/
• By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• By post: FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS
You can also request paper copies of all the consultation materials and a response form by emailing email@example.com or writing to FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS.
TfA will also respond to this consultation in order to share our concerns. If you would like to contribute to our answer, please email us your feedback by Friday 15th March:
• By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• By post: Transport for All, 336 Brixton Road, London, SW9 7AA