Watford Borough Council paid Arriva £17.36 per ride on its ArrivaClick service, new figures have revealed.

Last week, Arriva confirmed that its long-troubled Click service for Watford will be axed from the end of the year (December 31), citing a lack of customers.

The ‘demand response transport contract’ had been awarded to Arriva in November 2019, with service due to start in April 2020, however it did not begin until July that year due to lockdown.

The answer to a freedom of information request to Watford Borough Council, seen by the Watford Observer, showed a total cost of £1,533,996 for the service, and that 88,344 passengers used the service since it started.

This means the council was paying £17.36 per ride to Arriva over the period, separate from what was paid by customers to ride the bus.

The maximum subsidy to fund the scheme over the agreed four-year contract period was £1,568,775.

In July 2022, according to council documents, a typical journey from Woodside Leisure Centre to Watford General Hospital cost £3.80. According to the same document, a taxi would cost £12 to £14 while Uber would charge around £10.89.

It is understood that passenger numbers started very low, with figures for January to April 2022 at around 5,000 against a 76,000 forecast, but had risen to around 1,200 a week more recently.

Nevertheless, Arriva decided it was no longer cost-effective to run.

Watford Labour councillor Asif Khan described the service as “a pricey mistake” and a “drain on resources”.

Meanwhile, cab business Eagle Cars’ owner Barry Deakin claimed his knowledge of demand for rides in the town suggested ArrivaClick was “doomed from the start”, and labelled the expected usage projections “laughable”.

Watford mayor Peter Taylor previously acknowledged that the council is disappointed Arriva decided to withdraw the service. However, Watford Borough Council declined to comment specifically on the cost of the service.

Details of the “shopper-bus” service Watford Borough Council is bringing in once ArrivaClick is withdrawn are expected to be released today.