Updated: Mar 10
ViaVan have announced a new demand responsive transport system in Tees Valley in partnership with Stagecoach Group, a leading public transport provider in the United Kingdom.
Called Tees Flex, the new service aims to provide a new form of public transport which the firm say will focus on comfort, flexibility, and affordability, while reducing traffic congestion and pollution caused by carbon emissions.
Tees Flex is powered by nine new Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, funded by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. The service aims to provide reliable, convenient transport for residents in more isolated communities across the region, with rides costing as little as 50p — or even free for some residents.
Using the all-new Tees Flex app (iOS and Android), riders will be able to hail a ride in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter directly from their smartphone, via a website, or over the phone. ViaVan’s algorithms will enable multiple riders to share the vehicle. The technology will direct passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for shared trips.
Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan, said: “Over the next few years, we’re increasingly going to see cities and towns asking how they can provide their residents with transportation that provides the same ease and convenience as private car ownership, and yet still achieves the same environmental and congestion-reducing benefits of mass transport.
“We are proud to partner with Stagecoach to provide residents of Tees Valley with a convenient, affordable, and congestion-reducing shared transportation alternative that creates a viable alternative to private car usage.”
The service began on 24 February across three zones: Darlington and Stockton; Hartlepool; and Redcar and Cleveland. Users can request a ride within the service areas, and to destinations outside the designated zones, including train stations and hospitals. Tees Flex will also serve Teesside International Airport.
The pilot will run for three years, and has the potential to be extended across the region if successful.
Tees Valley now joins cities across the UK partnering with ViaVan to power on-demand transport networks, including London, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Oxford, and Leicester.
Image credit: ViaVan