BUSES summoned by passengers using an app have exceeded the expectations of managers marking the service's first 12 months on city streets.

Oxford Bus Company's PickMeUp fleet has beaten all forecasts, providing more than 140,000 rides over the past year for the 25,000 passengers who have downloaded the app and registered to travel across Oxford. It is now carrying an average of nearly 4,000 passengers per week.

Oxford Mail:

PickMeUp was the county’s first transport service of its kind when it was introduced in June last year, enabling passengers to request a minibus pick-up within 15 minutes at selected locations, using a mobile phone app.

READ AGAIN: Bus passenger PickMeUp service hits 10,000 mark

The service provides flexibility for passengers to choose both the start and end point of their journey in the eastern part of the city and in Summertown and Jericho.

Oxford Mail:

Passengers are matched with others wishing to make similar journeys to enable ride sharing. It was designed to help reduce congestion, provide connectivity ‘around the ring road’ and complement traditional services.

READ AGAIN: Oxford app-based bus service PickMeUp is expanding

Oxford Bus Company managing director Phil Southall said: “We are proud to have launched such an innovative service in Oxford that provides passengers with more choice and flexibility in how they travel.

Oxford Mail:

“The number of rides that have been taken in the first year demonstrates there is a real appetite for our service that is transforming how people travel and in an environmentally friendly way.

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“We are one year into a three-year pilot scheme and we are now entering a critical stage for PickMeUp. We now need to scale up and make the corner to corner service a viable business to ensure the trial is successful.

"We’d appeal to people to use the service, and to local businesses to help support us to make it a permanent fixture in the city.”

Oxford Mail:

With nearly 390,000 miles covered by the buses so far, the service actively contributes to reducing traffic, noise and carbon pollution in Oxford by cutting the number of cars on the road.

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Oxford-based transport expert Hugh Jaeger said: “The more journey sharing builds up, the more sense it makes to have these minibus-sized vehicles. PickMeUp initially appealed to people working at the science park but other patterns of use have arisen, including passengers with awkward journeys to the hospitals.”

Oxford Mail:

The bus company, backed by parent company the Go-Ahead Group, has invested significantly in launching and expanding the PickMeUp service.

The fleet has grown from six to nine buses and 26 jobs have been created.

PickMeUp was initially launched to serve business parks in the eastern part of Oxford, along with the city centre.

The zone was recently expanded to include Summertown and Jericho. The bus company partnered with New York ride-sharing startup Via Transportation to launch the service.

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To celebrate the anniversary a promo code has been launched providing £3 PickMeUp journey credit to all new users when they download the app and type ‘BIRTHDAY’ into the promo code box until June 30.