An innovative new way to travel that’s part bus, part taxi, is launching in London to help commuters get to and from work on routes that are currently tricky to navigate.
Gett, the app for ordering black cabs on demand, will now offer shared taxis on a dedicated route between Waterloo and Islington for the same price as a journey on public transport, with stop offs at any point along the way.
The startup worked with fellow tech firm Citymapper to identify areas under served by Tube lines or buses, tapping into the popular map app’s vast amount of data which has already been used to create a new night bus service in East London.
Now, the two have been combined in what Gett is calling the "Black Bus 1" route with the aim of reducing the current travel time on the north to south journey of 40 minutes to just 15 and at a cost of only £3. Passengers can stop off anywhere along the fixed route which passes through Angel, Farringdon and Aldwych during morning and evening rush hours from next week (7am - 10am and 5pm - 8pm).
Gett’s UK managng director Matteo de Renzi told City A.M. the first route is just the start of scaling up the service.
“We really believe it will revolutionise the daily commute. Maybe there’ll be 50 [routes], maybe 100, we’re very confident and the pilot is very very promising. How big [it will be] we’ll see,” he said.
The concept brings “the speed and availability of a cab, but the convenience of a bus” said Renzi. “Lets not forget cabs can use bus lanes,” he said, adding that it would also help reduce congestion and pollution in the capital. The option to book a cab on the route will appear in the Gett app and be suggested to Citymapper's thousands of users in the area.
It complements existing public transport but can also help with temporary spikes in demand for travel. For example, a “pop-up” route could appear when there is engineering works on the London Underground as an alternative to rail replacement services, he said, or during big events at Wembley stadium.
Gett is backed by German car giant Volkswagen, one of several traditional car makers attempting to turn itself into a "mobility" company to fit into a wider transport landscape as technology brings disruption.
Citymapper earlier this year unveiled its plans to "reinvent travel" by tapping into the information it has from the billions of journeys that have been planned in more than 30 of cities around the world using its app.