Hail and ride

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A preserved minibus of Devon General, displaying a Hail and Ride sticker

Hail and Ride is a concept in public transport in the United Kingdom and Australia. Generally, it refers to boarding or alighting a mode of public transport by signalling the driver or conductor that one wishes to board/alight, rather than the more conventional system of using a designated stop. The concept is used primarily in bus transport. The act of requesting a hackney carriage to stop is also termed 'hailing'.

Under the specific usage of the term in bus transport, hail and ride refers to the presence of sections of a route which may or may not have regular bus stops, but it can be requested to board or alight the bus anywhere that it is safe to do so. This is different from the transit bus practice employed in some areas, whereby although a stop may exist, it may be a request stop where the bus is not required to stop unless the passenger indicates they wish to catch the bus, for instance by holding out their arm at the stop, or indicates they wish to alight, for example by pressing a button to ring the 'stop' bell.

Hail and Ride is usually employed in rural areas, or in non-main roads such as housing estates. This usually involves routes using minibuses (this is, microbuses or midibuses) which can navigate these roads easily, although some commuter coach routes may also operate on a hail and ride basis at the residential end of their route.

As well as allowing the use of smaller roads less accessible to larger buses, a hail and ride scheme gives the advantage of not having to build bus stop infrastructure in order to introduce or vary a route. To take advantage of some housing estate road layouts, hail and ride may be used at the estate end of a route where the bus traverses the estate in a circular route and returning the other way, rather than ending at a specific terminus stop.

Sometimes a hail and ride section will be augmented with 'official stops', which are merely posts with a route flag and timetable box, to inform passengers of the existence of the service, rather than a purpose built shelter or lay-by.

The Hail and Ride concept has been extended and forms a part of demand responsive transport schemes.

It may be appropriate to retain ‘Hail & Ride’ operation:[1]

  • on lightly used services;
  • on routes where passenger demand is very scattered; or
  • where local conditions make installation of bus stops difficult (i.e. narrow pavements).

The hail and ride concept is adopted in Hong Kong by all minibus routes, although many minibus routes also have some sign posts along their routes, and a minority of operators do encourage their customers to get on and off at these stops.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Transport for London, Accessible bus stop design guidance, 2006