A new and exciting way of commuting is developing in Bristol, through Slide.
Commuters book journeys in advance through the app up to ten minutes before travel and are picked up close to their starting point. Slide is not a traditional bus. Seats, pick up and drop off points are guaranteed, as is a fixed fare (which is between £4-£7) and it offers free WIFI. The cost is lower than a taxi and a just little more than a bus. The vehicles can use bus lanes to cut through dense rush hour traffic, a problem for Bristol commuters. Transport is available only during rush hour from 6:45-9:45am and 3:30-7:30pm, Monday to Friday, meaning the fleet is cost effective as they only use resources during peak times.
The Slide Bristol fleet is made up of 16 vehicles operating using private hire licenses. The pick up points form virtual bus routes, with virtual bus stops optimised to transport passengers who are travelling on a similar journey. The ‘timetable’ is not fixed – it responds flexibly to daily demand allowing efficient service delivery. The service guarantees that the journey will not be delayed by more than 15 minutes to pick up fellow passengers. Users can call their driver with any queries, for example, to see if there is space for luggage, so there is no wasted journey or effort.
Slide Bristol is featured on the TravelWest website helping users discover the service, along with word of mouth, advertising, social media and promotions at company events. Whilst it is a new concept and will therefore take time to educate people about its service, the initial results are encouraging. One of the interesting findings for operator RATP Dev – an international expert in urban transport, part of the fifth largest multi-modal transport group in the world – is the positive feedback about drivers. As an operator more used to providing large scale public transport, this kind of personal approval and interaction is novel and rare.