Chances are that if you’re in the UK, you’re back at work today after the bank holiday weekend. But were your plans scuppered by public transport issues? A growing number of new mobility services are springing up to give travellers more ways to get from A to B. Dom Conolly, associate programme executive at Hotwire, looks at a few innovative transport options and asks what they mean for the future of transport.
Bank holidays don’t have to mean endless misery for those weekends full of exploring
You can guarantee two things in the UK when it comes to a bank holiday: Firstly, the weather will probably disappoint and, secondly, there will be travel disruption. Unfortunately, we can’t change the weather (no matter how often we wear summer clothes) but with innovative companies like DriveNow, Axon Vibe and Chariot, travel issues need not worry you as much.
Surprisingly, the early summer weather during last week’s bank holiday held out (for the most part), meaning more people were looking to get outside and explore new places. When looking for new places to go, increasingly consumers are looking at services like Citymapper or Uber first. Whilst these do the job, companies like DriveNow or Mobike are less affected by potential travel disruption on public transport networks and therefore can be more flexible and reliable.
Take Axon Vibe, for example. Its travel assistance service offers smart, personalised messages based on how often certain travel routes are used and offers notifications to tell the user when to leave based on disruption and the location that they’re trying to get to.
Another solution is DriveNow, a car-sharing club across London that offers members’ access to BMW and Mini cars whenever they need it. Instead of waiting for an Uber, users just download the app, see where the nearest car is located, unlock the car on the app and start driving. The cars can also be dropped off in virtually any on street parking bay around London.
Whilst the above examples are useful for public holidays when travel disruption is rife, a new service from Ford, called Chariot targets those difficult to reach commuters or those that need a last minute solution when tube strikes may cause inconvenience. The service uses “off-bus electronic ticketing” enabling passengers to use the app to find commuter routes near them, reserve a seat and pay using the app.
Those cited above are only a snapshot of many new and exciting companies appearing in a rapidly expanding industry, which is on course to make $1.7 trillion worth of revenues based on software, connectivity, mobile features and aftermarket services by 2030, according to McKinsey. With consumers always looking for the easiest ways to get around, and with technology innovating to improve mobility, the number of services is only going to increase.
Thousands of UK rail passengers faced unexpected problems in addition to the rail routes closed throughout the weekend due to pre-planned engineering work. Sections of the West Coast main line between London, Birmingham, northwest England and Scotland were off-limits, with trains running on alternative routes. But the discovery of an unexploded Second World War bomb close to the tracks between Milton Keynes Central and Rugby caused even more disruption to Virgin Trains and London Northwestern services.