Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Bus/cab Hybrid

Something between a cab and a bus
  [vote for,

Buses are difficult to justify in rural areas because it's almost impossible to fill them to capacity on a fixed route among the scattered points of interest, and taxi cabs are expensive because the overhead costs aren't shared among multiple riders, and each rider's fare has to help absorb the cost of the driver's marketing and downtime. (I'm speaking from my experience in a backwards, conservative, "axe the tax" part of the world like Florida in the United States. More enlightened areas of the world don't have these problems.) Proposed is a transportation system used to get to work on a daily basis (like a bus) with custom points of interest (like a cab). The route would be chosen with a sophisticated algorithm. As in current ride-sharing systems, a prospective rider logs into the website to document their home address, work address, and desired window. Service would be started if enough riders are available to justify the route. Every time an additional rider is added to the route, the differential costs would be evenly distributed to all riders, old and new. If you pick up a rider on your route, your cost of getting to work may drop. If you lose a rider, you and the others on your route will have to absorb the costs. Eventually, the system would begin to resemble an organic bus route with dynamically changing stops as needs change, and the efficiency of the system would be superior to both a cab (sharing the costs) and a bus (pinpointing the needs and discarding unneeded stops).
kevinthenerd, Jun 07 2012

Flexi http://go-flexi.org
This is our local service. Never used it, but it looks pretty much exactly as described in the idea. Also I am sure I have posted this link on the HB before so this is not a new idea even by HB standards. Sorry! [pocmloc, Jun 07 2012]


       I'm pretty sure this has been tried many times, including in the UK, where there have been various "dial-a-bus" schemes that tailor bus routes to individual needs.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 07 2012

       ....or just get rid of taxi/bus licensing laws   

       you do realize that that's the only thing stopping your not-that-novel idea from happening (or happening more often). There are plenty of places with illegal cab/bus services. The illegal guys are cheap, and I bet you can just call them if you need them (but only if you've been a customer before). It doesn't need to be regular like a bus service and it doesn't need to be on-call like a taxi, it can be both. Whatever the driver is willing to do, just call him. Maybe it'd be more for a called-in pick-up. Maybe less if you're a regular customer. Doesn't need any special system. Just a guy and a van (or minivan). That's it. The available profit is sufficient that people would (and already do illegally) start such businesses. do the math. think of fuel costs and maintenance costs. Could easily charge cheap tickets/per mile and still make a profit.
EdwinBakery, Jun 07 2012

       In St Lucia they have "buses" which are actually small passenger vans, and they just drive around. There are set times they will be at certain stops, and if you want to get on elsewhere you flag the bus down. You can tell the driver where you want to get off, and it feels like sharing a taxi with 10 people. Cost is $.75 to ride. It works well enough there because there is only one major road but I'm not sure how well it would work in a spread out suburban area.
DIYMatt, Jun 07 2012


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