First West of England has launched a new trial for a bus booking system.
The “Book my bus ride” scheme is trialling on the Brislington Park and Ride service from Monday, July 27, extending to the T1 and 3a services from Monday, August 3.
The booking system is part of the new services the bus provider has been launching throughout the coronavirus pandemic, including updates to the First Bus app.
Bookings can be made up to seven days ahead of a journey, and spaces can be reserved, subject to availability, until 15 minutes before departure.
Just under 50 per cent of the socially distanced capacity being bookable and the remaining seats left available for customers to board and pay as normal without a booking.
The new system aims to make it easier for passengers to make informed decisions about travel. Customers will have the option of buying a ticket with their reservation or booking at no extra cost if they already have a pre-paid First Bus ticket or are a concessionary card holder travelling after 9am.
“Here in the West of England we are pioneering new ways of travelling by bus to make it the smartest way to move around the region.
“By introducing ‘Book my bus ride’ to selected routes in Bristol, Bath and Thornbury, we aim to reassure customers that they can secure a space on their chosen journey,” says managing director of First West of England, James Freeman.
“The initiative is in its early stages and, if successful, we hope to integrate the advanced booking technology into the First Bus mobile app, as well as the onboard ticketing software, to revolutionise both the customer and driver experience.”
First West of England are working with the West of England Combined Authority to pilot the scheme, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
“This is a terrific new service which will help people know they can rely on the bus and give them more reasons to leave their car at home,” says West of England mayor Tim Bowles.
“I’m determined to keep our region moving and make sure the West of England leads the country on using technology to improve our public transport – giving people greater choice and flexibility in how they travel.”
Main photo: First West of England