May 10, 2018 / 2:26 PM / a year ago

Go-Ahead Group to start on-demand minibus service in Oxford

FILE PHOTO: A Go Ahead bus crosses Westminster Bridge in London, Britain August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - British bus and rail company Go-Ahead Group said on Thursday it was launching an on-demand minibus service in Oxford, as it bids to tap into a growing market for technology-led transport alternatives to cars.

Passengers would be able to request a pick-up at a “virtual bus stop” using a mobile app made by Via, an American firm which operates ride-sharing in New York, Chicago and Washington DC.

The pilot scheme will start in east Oxford on June 25, with six buses operating in the English university city which has long battled to reduce congestion.

“We firmly believe that ride-sharing is part of the solution to congestion and pollution in our towns and cities. It’s essential that we provide services that will tempt people out of their cars,” chief executive David Brown said in a statement.

Go-Ahead Group provides nearly a quarter of London’s regular buses.

Transport companies and carmakers are launching new services as modern competitors from Alphabet’s Google to Uber shake up the traditional automotive industry and firms seek to appeal to young urbanites who have increasingly shunned vehicle ownership.

Earlier this year, London approved plans by Ford to operate its Chariot minibus service.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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