An app that allow travellers in the Scottish Borders to hail a local bus like they would a taxi has been launched.
The new service is designed to provide “unprecedented flexibility” to those living in the rural Ettrick Valley and Bonchester Bridge areas, giving them better access to public and shared transport.
Residents who live in areas which are not serviced by public transport routes will be able to book on-demand transport through the ‘Go Borders’ smart phone app or the existing telephony service.
The specially-created app shows real-time updates and allows users to view and book journeys in a few clicks whilst also tracking the vehicle along its route by viewing live arrival information.
Payment will then be made via cash or concessionary card on board the bus when passengers begin their journey.
The service has been created in partnership with Moovit, an Intel company, and leading ‘mobility as a service’ solutions provider. The Go Borders app is powered by Moovit’s technology, and the transport service is powered by Moovit’s on-demand solution.
Gordon Edgar, executive member for infrastructure, travel and transport, said: “Given the rural nature of so many of our communities in the Scottish Borders, the traditional forms of public transport struggle to meet the diverse travel needs of our residents.
“Go Borders will provide unprecedented flexibility and offer greater convenience for residents, especially those living in some of the most remote locations where there are little or no public transport services at present.
“I think this is an extremely positive development and look forward to exploring how services like this can be expanded geographically to other areas of the region.”
Yovav Meydad, Moovit’s chief growth and marketing officer, said: “We are excited to partner with Scottish Borders Council and power this new mobility offering for Scottish Borders residents for greater access to transport and shorter walk and wait times.
“Complementary to traditional modes of transport, Moovit On-Demand can help residents get around more efficiently and gain more transparency into their ride.”
The app will begin operating on the existing 910 Hawick – Bonchester Bridge and 911/912 Ettrick Valley – Hawick/Galashiels services to provide increased and more convenient access to public transport.
The Go Borders app is available to download on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Passengers without a smartphone who are unable to use the Go Borders DRT app can also phone the council to book their bus.