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Community Transport
September 5, 2023

IndieGo+, UK

Increasing access to public bus through demand-responsive services for rural villages in Hatton and West Warwick, UK.

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At a glance

Supported by funding through the UK’s Rural Mobility Fund, Warwickshire County Council replaced a discontinued fixed route bus that served smaller rural villages with an On Demand service. Launched in May 2022, the service has not only provided vital transport links for residents affected by the discontinued service, but it has expanded network coverage to other surrounding villages who were previously underserved. Liftango has worked closely with Warwickshire County Council to further tailor the service to meet its community needs, including using flexible trip parameters for users with mobility challenges and optimising service parameters to increase the number of accepted trips from the same number of vehicles. 

Key Points

Fleet size:

  • 3 vehicles

Key features:

  • App and call centre bookings 
  • Door-to-door service
  • Bookings can be made from 2 weeks prior to 1 hour in advance 
  • Accepted bookings are guaranteed
  • Wheelchair accessible vehicles

Service Hours

  • 6am to 7.30pm Monday to Saturday
Map of the IndieGo+ service zone covering Hatton, West Warwick and West Kenilworth. Journeys can be made to and from anywhere in the shaded areas. Journeys can't be made solely within the green zone as there are existing public bus routes available.

The Problem

In response to cost pressures, the number 16 fixed route service from Hatton and West Warwick into Warwick town centre was being cut. This was the only route providing local village residents with public transport connections into Warwick town. Warwickshire County Council was very conscious of the need to judiciously apply funding to its bus services, while improving access for residents. Therefore in response to this problem, and through securing funding from the Rural Mobility Fund, Warwickshire County Council replaced the discontinued fixed route bus service with an On-Demand service using Liftango’s Demand Responsive Transport Solution (DRT).

The Solution

The new On-Demand service, IndieGo + has not only provided vital transport links for those residents affected by the discontinued fixed route, but it was purposefully designed to incorporate a larger geographic area (within ~70km2 ) to other surrounding villages, who were previously underserved or didn’t have any bus service at all. 

The new service has been configured to allow travel from the region outside Warwick into the city and vice versa, however travel is not allowed within the city itself, ensuring that the DRT service is used to provide important transport connections for rural residents without cannibalising other parts of the network.

The new solution enables local residents to book an on-demand bus service from an hour before their required travel to up to 2 weeks in advance. Once the booking is made, either via an app or call centre, the booking is guaranteed for the resident, providing confidence in pre-planned travel and flexibility for last-minute journeys.

Unlike the previous fixed route, which existed of one bus every two hours from set bus stops, the new on-demand service picks up passengers at the requested time and provides an almost door to door service for residents, offering much greater convenience. The flexibility of Liftango’s technology means that individual mobility requirements and disabilities can be accounted for, providing a level of service that was not possible prior to the introduction of this service.

The new service makes it easier for rural communities to travel to leisure, employment and healthcare facilities in Warwick town, so has a positive social, economic and environmental impact on the local region.

The service only runs if requested by a passenger therefore no bus ever runs empty. What’s more, the solution actively matches similar passenger journey’s resulting in a high number of shared trips. The on-demand service undoubtedly removes private vehicles from the road by being a reliable and convenient alternative. 

The Results

IndieGo+ has seen continuous growth in ridership and number of users since inception. As demand for trips has increased, Liftango Labs has continued to optimise service parameters to allow the service to cater for more patrons without requiring extra vehicles or making rides take too long to complete. This has allowed for the continuous growth in sharing a high percentage of requested bookings being matched.  

  • Over 85% of requested on-demand bookings are matched
  • 68% of trips are shared - up 50% since launch and approximately 50% more than the average for other UK DRT deployments
  • 97% punctuality of the service
  • Bookings are growing at 25% month on month
  • Over 25,000 trips in the last 6 months


IndieGo+ provides critical public transport access in a rural context where maintaining multiple fixed routes is unlikely to be viable. As the trip map shows, many of these trips include access to the city of Warwick for residents living in rural villages. DRT has been able to both absorb the existing patronage from the discontinued Number 16 route, and also provide a new service offering to other nearby rural villages who have been historically underserved by the network. 

Given the growing elderly population in many of these villages, ensuring good transport links are available is an important step towards social equity goals, providing residents with access to critical health, employment and retail services in Warwick, as well as greater autonomy. Despite the demographics of the area, approximately 70% of current bookings are made through the app, breaking down the stereotype that older communities are not willing to embrace new tech-based forms of public transport. Nonetheless, the provision of the Liftango-run call centre is vital to making sure the introduction of DRT does not exacerbate the digital divide. 

Working with Warwickshire County Council to deliver a highly personalised and customer-focused service has been critical in garnering community support for the service during the transition to DRT. Removing fixed routes - particularly in rural areas where transport links are already limited - is often met with community backlash. Warwickshire County Council put in a huge effort to engage with the local community to turn sentiment around and get such a positive uptake of the new service.  They undertook significant local engagement ahead of the launch with several familiarisation visits with a branded vehicle at key locations within the service area to give locals the opportunity to find out more and ask questions directly to the Council Officer setting up the service. 

As a result of the Council's efforts, the new IndieGo + service has been positively received by the community and demand has grown steadily from the launch, reflected both in patronage numbers, but also in direct feedback from customers who have been requesting that Warwickshire County Council expand IndieGo+’s service operations. In part, this positive customer sentiment could only be achieved by Liftango working with Warwickshire County Council to optimise parameters and get more people on buses.

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