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Stagecoach ends Yellow Taxibus service

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STAGECOACH is ending its loss-making Fife to Edinburgh Yellow Taxibus service in November, following a two-year trial. But it is arguing that funding should be made available for such services to boost social inclusion and cut congestion across the UK.

Says Stagecoach Group chief executive Brian Souter: “We believe there is real potential for a range of Yellow Taxibus-style ‘phone and go’ services across the country that can boost social inclusion in our communities, tackle congestion in our cities and improve the quality of life for thousands of people.”

Stagecoach says the demand-responsive Taxibus has been popular with customers, particularly women and that it offers local authorities a value-for-money option to improve transport links in rural and urban areas.

“Yellow Taxibus has had some of the best customer feedback of any new initiative we have launched,” says Soutar. “It is clearly a concept that is very attractive to passengers and the relatively low operating costs should make it an attractive option for local authorities.”

The Fife service runs seven days a week and combines a fixed bus route in and out of Edinburgh with flexible pre-booked taxi pick-ups in the Dunfermline area of Fife. It is operated by nine Mercedes-Benz Vito people carriers with fares of £5 single and £8 return. The fare on conventional bus services is £3.50 single and frequency is every 15 minutes.

The service carries around 1,000 passengers a week, with feedback showing high satisfaction ratings in terms of comfort, reliability, value-for-money, frequency of pick-ups and driver customer service.

The operating costs of the Taxibus, which uses a manual booking system rather than a more expensive computer-based system, are 80p a mile, which Stagecoach says is half the figure for many equivalent demand-responsive services.

Souter concludes: “Yellow Taxibus has demonstrated that a core market and improved public transport services can be developed in a congested urban area. We also believe the Yellow Taxibus approach can be used to boost social inclusion in rural areas.”

www.stagecoachgroup.com

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