AN ON-DEMAND bus service which has proved just the ticket for commuters in Berwickshire is on track for a £304,000 extension.

The Pingo Demand Responsive Transport Service was launched in May last year as a pilot scheme delivered by Borders Buses.

Customers can download the ‘Ride Pingo’ app on their mobile phone, allowing them to book their journey quickly and easily and track the progress of their bus as it makes its way to its selected pick-up point.

The service has proved popular among all passengers, particularly under the 22s, who account for 40 per cent of all trips.

The service operates from 7am to 9pm Monday to Sunday and the key objectives of the pilot are to reduce reliance on private cars, improve access to key services, increase employment opportunities, improve access to transport for young people and tackle social isolation.

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Now it is proposed to extend the pilot project for another year at the cost of £304k, with members of Scottish Borders Council recommended to endorse the plan when they meet on Thursday, February 16.

A report to members, approved by John Curry, the council’s director of infrastructure and environment, said: “The Pingo service is widely recognised by other local authorities as being a leading example of how demand responsive transport can perform, particularly in a rural area.”

Between May 2 last year and January 15 this year 9,500 journeys have been made on Pingo with the service on track to reach 12,000 journeys by the end of March.

The report added: “It is clear from the data analysis of trips to date that Pingo has enabled many of the key target groups to access transport, including the under 22s, concessionary card holders, customers requiring assistance and space for wheelchairs and the active travel market.

“In order to fully realise the potential that demand responsive transport can have in rural areas it is recommended that the Berwickshire Pingo pilot is extended for a further 12 months.”