Pilot agreed for 'Uber-style' Tees Valley bus service

Bus services in Tees Valley Image copyright Tees Valley Combined Authority
Image caption It is hoped the service will improve transport links in rural communities

Plans to pilot a "Uber-style" bus service in areas of Darlington, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland have been approved.

Tees Valley Combined Authority said passengers will be able to determine the route by requesting pick-up and drop-off points within a defined area.

It is hoped to improve transport links in the region's rural areas.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said people in these areas "are frequently left behind."

He said: "We're driving cash into every part of our transport network, from upgrades to our major train stations, roads, and walking and cycling routes and an airport that's now in our control, but I can't nationalise buses.

"This Uber-style service is a great answer to get those people not served by other routes moving and where they need to be."

Passengers will be able order buses on the phone, via an app or through a website.

They will also be able to select destinations such as hospitals that are outside of the service area.

The system will then match-up with passengers travelling in the same direction and schedule vehicles to find the fastest route.

Councillor Heather Scott, Combined Authority Cabinet lead for Transport, said: "There's no point in us working hard to create jobs and training, or to improve our town centres and attractions if our residents can't access any of it.

"This scheme will help those who need it most benefit from the opportunities and changes we're bringing about."

The pilot is expected to start by the end of the year for a minimum of 3 years.

Similar services have been introduced in Liverpool, Sittingbourne, parts of Shropshire and Leicester.

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