ArrivaClick, the popular Demand Responsive Transport solution from Arriva will not be returning to Liverpool once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, as it has not been profitable, the firm announced today,
Instead it will be restricted to a small area, covering the suburb of Speke, 8 miles south-east of Liverpool city centre.
In a statement Arriva UK Bus says: “The ArrivaClick service will not be returning to the whole of Liverpool however, we will continue to run the 211 Speke zone, as we have been over the pandemic period.
“Despite these successes, the ArrivaClick service in Liverpool is not performing strongly enough in a tough commercial environment.”Arriva UK Bus, 30 July 2020
“ArrivaClick has proved to be popular with our customers and we understand how disappointing this news will be.
“We have tried everything we can to increase passenger numbers and make the service sustainable.
“This wasn’t a decision we have taken lightly. We are extremely grateful to our customers for their support since we launched the service.
“Our ambition for the service was to get people out of their cars and onto public transport and we’ve had some successes. 52% of ArrivaClick customers previously used private cars and taxis showing that there is a strong need for DRT style bus services in the UK.
“Despite these successes, the ArrivaClick service in Liverpool is not performing strongly enough in a tough commercial environment.
“Our experience in Leicestershire has shown us that this service performs most strongly when it is partnered with other streams of support.”
It will continue to serve customers in Speke on the 211 route via ArrivaClick, until further notice.
Arriva adds: “We are making this announcement now to give our customers time to make alternative travel arrangements. We still have Arriva buses that you can use to travel.”
Having started with a trial between Sittingbourne railway station and nearby business park in Kent in March 2017 (since abandoned), ArrivaClick has been tried in other areas, and currently operates in Leicester and Watford.
Liverpool was the first city it was tried in, and it launched there in 2018.
A demand-responsive service, passengers book and pay for journeys via a smartphone app, which then matches passengers travelling between similar points, calculating an ad hoc route to the destinations required.
Arriva is not alone in struggling to make a commercial success of demand-responsive transport in the UK, despite a high-quality and value-for-money offering.