Urban transport navigator app Citymapper is experimenting with creating another shipping assistance based off of analysis of the excursion data its consumers produce — and using application it built to identify underserved transport routes.
Today it’s announced a tie-up with Gett‘s UK pitch-black cab acclaiming app to extend two commuter rows of shared taxis in London, morning and nights, between Highbury in North London and the Waterloo transport hub in the south.
It’s calling this “Project Black Bus” — pitch-black being the typical coloring of London’s conventional taxis. The Citymapper-Gett partnership probably commits a income share between the pair on any booked journeys.
This is not Citymapper’s first experiment with spreading London’s existing modes of public transport network with some commercially routed adds-on. It already flows a( n actual) bus service — which it announced in July — with the bus direction likewise picked based on analysis of its users’ city mobility data.
In that case it’s an East London late night direction cater to partygoers. The direction use Citymapper’s own fleet of buses, distinct from Transport for London’s crimson fleet. The vehicles are also smaller than the average London bus and include a multitude of screens to help users understand where in the city they find themselves — as well as USB ports to charge up their devices.
The bus service, which is called the CM2 line — technically it’s the second largest bus street Citymapper offered, after it led a brief bus contest in a different part of London — is fully integrated with Citymapper’s transport app, as you’d expect.
And so too is the new pooled taxi work — which it’s calling BB1: short for “Black Bus 1”( suggesting this is the first in a line( ha !) of such pooled taxi routes.
Users of its app will see the route in their suggestions — with an option to “Book with Gett”.
“Cabs can be shared by multiple fares, just like on a bus, for a attached rate of alone PS3 ! ( and psst .. the first go is free ). But unlike bus, you can get on and off anywhere on the road, ” the company writes in a blog upright announcing the brand-new service.
With PS3 pricing it’s vastly undercutting the costs of an Uber( and even an UberPool) — or certainly a black cab — for manufacturing the same travel. But the go will cost more than taking a single trip on a TfL London bus.
The BB1 line will operate during the busiest passenger hours: So between 7-10 am and between 5-8 pm. Citymapper says it will start next Monday, September 25.
The company says it picked this path because there’s no direct Tube link treating this path, and likewise claims that existing public transport options “would require three buses or tubes”.
“It suffices one of the most significant gaps in the tube in zone1: Angel to Farringdon. It employs side streets that avoid jams and is beneficial for bus corridors, ” it adds.
However this is actually a somewhat vigorous massaging of the truth. While it’s surely true-life there is no direct Tube link between Highbury& Islington and Waterloo, an existing TfL bus( the number 4) will take you all the way from Highbury Corner to Waterloo Road without you having to get up and change.
The same tour can also be be done in order to only two Tube journeyings: Either taking the Victoria Line& Bakerloo, or Victoria Line& Northern. So it’s not really that is something that of a faff to make this pilgrimage with existing London public transport alternatives.( Also worth noting: Highbury has an overland train station too, with studies which can take you as far as Moorgate .)
Plus, as Citymapper’s BB1 itinerary makes parties get on and off anywhere on the line portions of the tour is necessarily be immediately repeating dwelling public transport routes.
And London’s extensive TfL bus network offers numerous direction alternatives to dish portions of the road, including Angel to Farringdon, if not is totally’ door-to-door’; i.e. you may need to walk a bit either result.( Certainly, Citymapper’s own founder, Azmat Yusuf, has said of London’s bus network: “If they are able to figure out how to use the bus you can go anywhere.”)
Of course there will always be some people for whom traveling by cab is the preferred option, especially if it’s induced more affordable for them to do so.( Uber’s notoriety in London attests to that — it claims some 3.5 million users in the city .)
Even if traffic jam congestion in London tends to make any form of street-level road-based vehicle one of the least quickest, least smart ways to get about( biking excepted ).
Blogging about why it’s get into taxi pooling via a tie-up with Gett, Citymapper connotes it’s hoping to reduce metropolitan congestion by encouraging prevailing taxi customers to share their tours — by making the chosen, pooled roadway — and thus reduce the number of cab on the road at any one time.
Although if it dissolves up encouraging London passengers off of existing TfL buses and Tubes and onto London’s congested streets the services offered could well have the opposite effect — a risk which leads undiscussed in its blog.
Instead Citymapper argues that pooled taxi roads can offer a most flexible freight option to add to the combination, with itineraries able to be’ revised and evolved to converge used needs’, adding that: “Regular buses can’t do that.”
Of course “regular buses” can’t change their street all the time because very large numbers of people rely on those roads. Whereas cabs that they are able carry — at most — five individuals at a time are not bus. And are never going to get buses.
Even if Citymapper is seeking to paint this taxi pool line in the livery of a bus — subtitling its blog as: “Black cabs loping like buses.” And directly appropriating the word “bus”( “black bus”) for what is actually a commercial shared taxi commuter busines.( For a bit more perspective London’s bus fleet carries some 6.5 M passengers per day .)
We asked Citymapper why it has been determined that shared taxis are the best option for this shipping road — i.e. rather than leading another of its’ smart buses’.
At the time of writing the company had not responded.
Another consideration is how much the London transport regulator was involved in the planning process of the BB1 route.
If, as Citymapper says, the roadway is representing implement of side-streets there’s a potential for it to funnels more congestion down residential directions — which are exactly the sorts of factors taken into consideration by regulators when they are planning brand-new bus routes.
So we too requested Citymapper how it considered the impact of moving this taxi passenger roadway on local residents. And also whether it implied TfL in the route-planning process.
We’ve likewise reached out to the London transport regulator for its views on the service — and will revise this upright where reference is responds.
Safe to say, Citymapper is not the only startup viewing money-making the chance of plucking a portion of users of existing public transport networks onto commercial-grade alternatives.( Nor the only startup under pressure to start monetizing application of its free app — Citymapper said in December it would start doing just that this year, having created ~$ 50 M in VC funding since 2011 from investors who clearly want to see a return on that currency .)
Ride-hailing behemoth Uber pioneered the following procedure with its UberPool assistance which dynamically parallels fares with others journeying in the same direction, charging a lower diet than for a full Uber as they share the car.
This strategy is a possibility smart for the companies committed, but the question of how smart it is a matter of already heavily congested and highly polluted metropolitans is a whole other question.