How to set up a taxishare service
A taxishare usually runs to a timetable like a bus, but is operated using a taxi. Most schemes are open to the general public, but users must first register to use the service.
Each time a registered member wants to travel on the taxishare, they must book a seat for a specific journey time. Passengers pay a fixed fare, typically similar to the equivalent bus fare. In some cases concessionary travel passes maybe used on the taxishare services. Please contact Hampshire County Council for further information.
On the occasions when no-one has booked to travel, the service does not operate. In addition, unlike a regular bus service, a taxishare does not need to follow a specified route, although some do. Therefore, taxishares can be organised to pick up anywhere within a specified area and provide a door to door transport service.
Case Study: Bramshill, Hartley Wespall, Heckfield, Mattingley, Rotherwick and Stratfield Turgis Parishes Taxishare
This taxishare was initially set up by Hampshire County Council to replace an uneconomical bus service and operates one return journey into Basingstoke every Wednesday. The taxishare picks up pre-booked passengers from their home addresses across the five parishes, at 9.30am and returns from Basingstoke at 12noon. The service is regularly used by a core group of passengers who travel every week. On average, there are 20 passenger trips (10 return journeys) per month. The service is operated by a small local taxi company using a four seater vehicle.
Case Study: Campbell Road & Chalvington Carshare
This taxishare service compliments the local bus services and only covers specific roads in Eastleigh where local bus services were withdrawn. The service is split into two parts and offers between two and five journeys, Tuesday to Saturday, depending upon area. Prebooked passengers are picked up from their home address and have the opportunity to travel to their local shopping centre, Asda and doctor's surgery in Eastleigh.
On average the service sees 250 passenger trips per month, with 95% of the available journeys operating each day. This taxishare service is contracted by Hampshire County Council and is operated by a large private hire company who can provide larger accessible private hire vehicles if needed.
Case Study: Hartley Wintney Parish Council Taxishare
This taxishare service complements the Hampshire County Council Hart Shopper Services replacing a minibus that provided a Thursday morning trip to Fleet previously shared by four villages and run by Hampshire County Council.
The taxishare operates every Thursday using a local taxi operator. Passengers book with Hartley Wintney Parish Council who pass the information onto the operator. Because the service complements the Hampshire County Council Shopper Services, passengers must first be registered with Hampshire County Council before they can use it.
A local publicity campaign, coupled with a shorter journey time for passengers has increased patronage so that, in the 5 months up to the end of May 2011, there were 78 passenger trips (39 return journeys) per month. This is a big improvement from the number of people travelling from Hartley Wintney on the Hampshire County Council service that was shared by four villages in the corresponding period in 2010.
This scheme has proved a great success because of its local focus and provides good value for money as all the passengers live in the same parish, which reduces the number of dead miles between pickup points.
When might a taxishare be suitable?
- Replacing a bus service, where the bus service has become uneconomic to run
- For communities which are spread across a wide rural area, as no set route is required, and it can provide a door to door service.
- For journeys with a maximum of eight passengers at any one time
For the organisation contracting the service, the taxi operator is likely to charge an amount similar to that which they would charge for an individual booking. When the taxi operator’s journey price is known, it is easy to calculate the maximum annual cost of the service, which will be the journey price multiplied by the number of journeys.
The arrangement is usually that the taxi operator will keep the fares, and therefore charge the contracting organisation the net amount. The more passengers who share each journey, the more cost-effective the service becomes, reducing the amount charged to the contracting organisation. In addition, if a journey does not run, the taxi operator will not charge for that journey. Therefore the cost of the service will be lower than the theoretical annual maximum.
Any organisation can commission a service and contract an operator, who must be a licensed hackney carriage or private hire operator.
The contracting organisation will need:
- To draw up a service specification and arrange a contract with an appropriate operator
- An individual who is available to take registrations for the service, liaise with the operator (so that the operator cannot claim for journeys made outside the taxishare service) and inform registered passengers of service changes
- An individual who is available to monitor and review the operation of the service, manage user feedback and process invoices from the operator.
What to do next
- Identify potential demand (number of people, journey(s) needed)
- Draw up and agree a timetable (day(s) and times)
- Calculate likely costs, budget and funding source(s)
- Draw up a service contract, including if the service needs to be accessible etc
- Tender or seek prices from operator(s)