Uber-style bus system for Hartlepool among £45million transport improvements signed-off by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen
An Uber-style on-demand bus service and improved cycle and walking routes are among £45million worth of transport projects which have been signed off by Tees Valley chiefs.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and the Combined Authority have rubber stamped advanced funding for four major transport schemes in Hartlepool and its neighbouring areas.
The cash will allow work to begin on a range of projects covering public transport, sustainable travel and green vehicles.
Funding has been made available for a study to pinpoint the best locations to roll-out more electric vehicle charging points across Tees Valley and to promote the uptake of electric vehicles across the region.
Work will also be carried out to improve bus, cycling and walking routes across the region.
Initial cash has also been agreed to kick-start the pilot of an “Uber-style” on-demand bus service covering rural areas of Hartlepool, Stockton, Redcar & Cleveland and Darlington.
Mayor Houchen said: “Improving local transport across the Tees Valley and making sure local people can quickly, easily and cheaply get around our region is essential. People need to be able to get to hospital appointments, college, work and the high street and that’s why I’m making sure these projects are kick-started with the funding they need.
“For too long local people have had to endure poor bus services. I am not going to sit by and do nothing as residents outside of urban areas are forced to go without the transport they have a right to expect. The old way of doing things has failed, so I have decided to step in and try something new."
The three-year bus pilot will help people in more isolated locations access essential services, training and employment.
The new service will allow passengers to book a journey in advance on either a smartphone app, via a website or over the telephone. Algorithms then match passengers travelling in the same direction and schedule vehicles in real-time to find the optimal route for their trip.
The technology will also help provide more public transport options for passengers going to and from Teesside International Airport.