Car giant Ford has started running its rush-hour commuter service linking Shooters Hill and Kidbrooke with North Greenwich station after being given the green light by transport bosses.
The Shooters Hill Shot will see 14-seater shuttle buses run to and from the Jubilee Line station each rush hour from areas that are currently poorly-served by the TfL network.
Users book a seat on one of the Chariot services with an app – as they would with Uber or a taxi app – but the service will run to a timetable, just like a bus.
It will run up to every 10 minutes each morning – if there is demand – from back streets on Shooters Hill – Plum Lane, Dalin Road, Eglinton Hill, Condover Crescent, Moordown, Donaldson Road. It would then pick up in Kidbrooke – Corelli Road, Dursley Road, Hargood Road and Begbie Road – before running fast to North Greenwich station via the Blackwall Tunnel approach.
The service operates in the reverse direction each evening, with buses picking up from the bus stop on Millennium Way rather than North Greenwich bus station.
Many of the streets served by the Shooters Hill Shot do not currently see a TfL bus service, although some of the stops in the Kidbrooke area are shared with the existing 386 route.
There is one small flaw in the plan, though – Transport for London refused permission for the Shooters Hill Shot to use Westcombe Hill, so if there is heavy congestion on the A102, Chariot users will have to put up with it. The firm has a licence to run the service for a year.
The vehicles offer wi-fi, air conditioning, and overhead storage for laptop bags and briefcases, but will not accept Oyster or contactless cards.
Single rides will cost £2.40, but monthly passes can bring the cost down to £1.60. Then, with a monthly pass, single journeys cost from £1.60, with single pay-as-you-go rides £2.40.
Until 14 February, commuters who enter voucher code HELLOLDN on the Chariot app will be able to bag a free trial ride on a first-come, first served basis.
Another route, the Nuxley Navigator, has also started, running from Carlton Road, Erith, to Abbey Wood station, picking up at Parsonage Manorway, Matfield Road, Stream Way, Orchard Avenue, Glenview and West Heath Road.
Two other services, in Battersea and Wandsworth, have also been given the go-ahead by TfL.
Ford already runs Chariot services in five US cities – San Francisco, New York City, Seattle and Austin, Texas – all aiming to fill gaps in existing transport networks.