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Citizens of Sutton, it's your moment in the limelight.
Public transport is a tough sell in outer London. In a borough like Sutton, people are far more reliant on cars. However the Mayor's Transport Strategy, which aims to increase public transport use, means that an area like Sutton can't just be abandoned to let private vehicles rule the roost.
So TfL is getting creative. Earlier this year, it announced a consultation on an on-demand bus service, and that service launches today. The bus, called GoSutton is a joint venture between TfL and transportation app ViaVan, and will run as a pilot for 12 months. But TfL and ViaVan aren't resting on their laurels — a similar scheme is currently being planned for Ealing.
The buses themselves sound rather plush, with wheelchair accessible and customers guaranteed a seat, along with USB charging points and free wifi. The service operates seven days a week, from 6.20am until 9.30pm. Each journey costs £3.50 for individual journeys with an extra £2 per person on top of that for groups. Freedom Pass holders are entitled to free travel.
Below is a map of the area the bus will cover. It looks like the preposterously purple Mayfield Lavender Farm is just one location that could benefit from this service.
Michael Hurwitz, TfL's Director of Transport Innovation, said:
We are growing the bus network in outer London, as well as improving the capital's Tube and rail service, but we also need to innovate and explore new ways of encouraging people out of their cars and onto more sustainable forms of transport. This trial will help us determine whether a more flexible, on-demand bus service complementing traditional routes could help us achieve the goal of making our streets better places for everyone.