Introducing the concept of taxi sharing
Taxi sharing is a new type of public transport service that enables people to travel by taxi within their local area at low cost. The service aims to improve social inclusion by providing better access to local services and facilities such as health centres, employment sites and leisure venues.
Implementing sustainable mobility
The taxi-sharing service is based in an area of the city that is particularly poorly served by public transport and where residential areas are divided from employment opportunities and leisure venues by busy roads and waterways. The taxi-sharing service will improve access in the local area as well as enabling people to connect with onward travel by bus or rail. It will also cut the number of journey miles, since similar journey requests can be matched so that people can share vehicles.
The taxi-sharing service was launched in March 2005. Anyone living within the taxi-sharing area can use the service, provided they have registered as a member of the scheme.
Members are informed that the scheme has been designed to match people’s journey requests, which means that they may be asked to vary their travel times slightly or to share their taxi with someone else.
The scheme proved successful in attracting a large membership base: after six months the scheme had 125 members, suggesting that the marketing and awareness raising was successful. The main reasons given by members for joining the scheme were to reduce the costs of taxi travel and to overcome the lack of suitable public transport services. Analysis of membership revealed that a high proportion of members are elderly, with 44 percent over 55 years of age, who joined the scheme due to restricted personal mobility. This indicates that the scheme provides a socially necessary service, enabling elderly people and people with disabilities to access local services.
One lesson learnt from the scheme was that it requires a targeted and coordinated marketing campaign in order to make people aware of how the scheme operates.