Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen on a recent visit to Cubic Transportation Systems in Stockton.
Jane Imrie

Teesside’s own ‘Uber-style’ bus network unveiled

Plans for an ‘Uber-style’ bus network have been revealed by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen,

The proposed on-demand bus service would serve parts of the region such as Darlington, East Cleveland and West Hartlepool where locals “receive little or no bus coverage”.

If the plans are successful, passengers will be able to book travel using a smartphone app, on the phone or via a website, with the network’s system matching and scheduling vehicles in real-time.

Mayor Ben Houchen explained: “Routes, fares and timetables are set by private bus companies so understandably they tend to favour areas that make them money. The problem here is that rural areas, where there’s less demand, get cut off and residents have to endure poor connectivity.

“An on-demand ‘Uber-style’ bus network covering remote areas powered by technology is the best way to address these issues in the short term, so I am making some funding available to make it a reality in the Tees Valley.”

Subject to a procurement process, the service will be available to residents by the end of the year and will operate for a minimum of three years. If the pilot is a success, the mayor has pledged to extend the service into other across the Tees Valley.

Mayor Ben Houchen added: “I don’t have the power to nationalise buses, but we can and will step in to ensure people in more remote areas finally get access to good quality, frequent public transport.”

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