Powered by a mobile app, Stagecoach Connect will be free for NHS staff, and will be launched at Sherwood Forest Hospital NHS Trust in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire today (May 18), in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council.
The service was launched in just two weeks as a way to use technology to expand access to safe, flexible and efficient transport to-and-from hospital shifts in the morning and late evening hours. Previously, hospital staff either drove a personal vehicle or took a bus with limited operating hours.
Now, Stagecoach Connect, powered by ViaVan’s technology for demand-responsive transport, will enable healthcare workers to pre-book a seat in a dynamically routed bus during extended hours. The service is designed as a complement to existing fixed line services provided by Stagecoach and bus operators around the country. Stagecoach Connect will create a cost-effective and seamless transport option for workers, without the need for a private vehicle.
Through the use of a mobile app, healthcare workers will be able to pre-book a seat up to one week in advance to match upcoming shift schedules, track the location of their bus, and change or cancel a booking. Riders will select a desired pick-up and drop-off location, and will be matched with a seat in a high-capacity bus that is fully compliant with public health guidelines for social distancing.
ViaVan’s technology will direct healthcare workers to a nearby “virtual bus stop” for pick-up, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, fixed routes or schedules.
The NHS is one of the world’s largest employers with approximately 1.7 million workers across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland working at hundreds of locations.
Says Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan:
“We are proud to work with Stagecoach to quickly launch Stagecoach Connect during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to leverage our flexible digital platform to help our partners rapidly introduce and scale mobility solutions for essential workers.
“With the future of public transport in the United Kingdom at a crossroads in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, cities today have an unprecedented opportunity to employ technology to make public transit work safely and efficiently while ensuring affordable and equitable access for all.”
Earlier this year, Stagecoach launched a new ‘Tees Flex’ on demand service in Tees Valley as the result of a successful partnership with the Mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen. ViaVan also provides the technology to power the Tees Flex service.