Sunday, October 27, 2019

Calls For A ‘Lifeline’ Bus Service In Sutton To Stay For Good Have Been Made.

A pilot of GoSutton, an on-demand bus service, was introduced in the borough back in May.

It is partnership between Transport for London (TfL) and app ViaVan, which is similar to Uber.

But with six months left to go of the pilot, councillors are asking TfL if it can be made a permanent fixture.

It works by picking up multiple passengers who are heading the same way, who all order the service using an app.

There are no fixed routes or bus stops but you will be picked up and dropped off within 200 metres of your requested destinations.

It is cheaper than a taxi but more expensive that a traditional bus, at a cost of £3.50 and £2 for additional passengers.

But if you have a Freedom Pass you can use the service for free by entering your Oyster card number into the app.

Sutton Council leader Ruth Dombey said: “Sutton has a high percentage of elderly residents and people with learning disabilities, and this pilot bus scheme has proved to be a lifeline for them.

“Residents who have used the service have told me that they have been able to take part in activities and lead fuller lives by having access to the GoSutton bus – so we need to make sure it continues after one year”.

And if you live in Sutton you know that public transport isn’t as good as the rest of London.

So GoSutton offers another option to get around the borough.

It currently operates seven days a week from 6.30am-9.30pm in an area from the A24 in the West to Purley Way in the East. And from St. Helier hospital on the North to Belmont station on the South.

This includes  Valley Park Retail, The Phoenix Centre and Cheam Leisure Centre.

Cllr Manuel Abellan, Chair of the Environment & Neighbourhoods Committee, added: “Sutton has some of the worst public transport provision in London, so further investment from the Mayor and Transport for London is vital.

“Aside from benefiting our residents, the scheme is helping us to improve air quality, reduce congestion and cut down on the number of individual car journeys.”

What we need to consider here is...this is not legally a bus service, as buses operate under the stage coach act. The driver holds a PSV Licence. 

ViaVan operate under the Private Hire Vehicles Act of 1998 and the drivers hold private hire (minicab) licenses.

The question here is this:-
As this is not legally a bus service but a glorified minicab business, should these vehicles be given access to lanes that are legally set up for use by Buses, Taxis and Cycles?

We would state that case law in the UK and European court makes it clear that Private Hire (Minicabs) can not use dedicated bus lanes, as Addison Lee found out, much to their own costs.

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