On-Demand Transit Trial to Start

Last August Judy Smith made a presentation to Council suggesting that instead of using large buses on a fixed route that small buses should be used on a route that dynamically responds to actual passenger needs.  The idea of “Micro-Transit” or “On-Demand” was accepted by Council and money was approved in the 2021 budget. At Monday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting, Council approved paying the current transit operator – Century Transportation – to conduct a trial using current large buses. One feature is that instead of having two services – one regular and a “Wheels” service for passengers with disabilities – there would be one service for all. The trial will start April 19 using Century buses and Rideco Software and will be in two phases.

Transit Bus
Transit Bus

Starting April 19, the on-demand service will be available to regular riders only for weekends and evenings (5:00 pm to 10 pm) with fixed route service at other hours. Wheels transit members will have on-demand service at all hours. Phase 2 will start June 14 with on-demand available to all riders for all operating hours. Booking will be via an app, by phone or online – details below.

Fares will remain at $2.00 per ride paid in advance by credit card or on the bus when you board. Tickets will be accepted. Multi-ride passes will be available soon.


Phase 1 – Soft Launch for WHEELS Members and All Riders
Date: Beginning April 19, 2021 until June 13, 2021.

WHEELS Members: All WHEELS members interested in using the Cobourg Rides on-demand service will be able to book rides during the following hours of transit operations:

  • Monday to Friday: 6:15 am – 10 pm
  • Saturday: 8:15 am – 6:45 pm
  • Sunday: 8:45 am – 3:45 pm

Note: WHEELS members are asked to please call the booking number first before utilizing the Pick-Up App to ensure their account and email address has been approved as a WHEELS member.

All Riders: All riders interested in using the Cobourg Rides on-demand service will be able to book rides during the following hours of transit operations:

  • Monday to Friday: 5 pm – 10 pm
  • Saturday: 8:15 am – 6:45 pm
  • Sunday: 8:45 am – 3:45 pm

Conventional Transit (Fixed Route) service will still be offered to riders from Monday to Friday from 6:15 am until 5 pm

Phase 2 – Full On-Demand Service Begins for WHEELS Members and All Riders
Date: Beginning June 14, 2021.

The Cobourg Rides on-demand service will now be fully implemented across both WHEELS and Conventional Transit during the following regular hours:

All Riders Including WHEELS:

  • Monday to Friday: 6:15 am to 10 pm
  • Saturday: 8:15 am to 6:45 pm
  • Sunday: 8:45 am to 3:45 pm

Note: Route 1 and 2 Conventional Transit will no longer be available during Trial Phase #2.


You can book a ride up to three-weeks in advance in three easy ways:

  1. Download the “Pick-Up On-Demand” App – see below
  2. Book Online – (At Rideco) Your first task will be to register
  3. Call 905-373-0582

This is how the online process and the app work.

How Does it Work
How Does it Work

As an option, you can also pay online or via the app.

Down load the app

apple app store

Google Play


Or, if you prefer, in your phone, go to App Store (or Google Play Store) and search for “pickup on demand” and choose the pink coloured app by Rideco.

If you’re a first-time user, you’ll need to create an account.

The app includes tracking of the bus so you know where your ride is.


Call 905-373-0582 to book an on-demand ride over the phone. The hours of operation to use the phone booking service are:

  • Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday 8:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.
  • Sunday 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Video showing how to use the app.

Note that the example of use in the video is not Cobourg so some details may differ.

The trial is planned to continue for the rest of 2021.   It brings improved service but at significantly reduced cost.  This is partly because the improved service is expected to increase ridership so fare revenue would be higher.

Download a printable poster with key information here.


Previous Posts on Cobourg News Blog

Town and other Links

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31 March 2021 2:04 pm

Wish it was accessible to all people. Even $28.95 is above what some of the people using public transportation are able to afford. Myself I’ll borrow my partner’s cell phone for any days I use the transit which frankly are few and far between. We shall see what we shall see in the efficiency and availability of service. I shall hold my cheers until then.

For those that don’t own or have no use for a cell phone generally taking the bus will require one or hopes of being near to a pay phone. Added user cost. I guess down and outers better buy a bicycle. Public transit – perhaps we should rename it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Liz
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Liz
31 March 2021 6:23 pm

Are there pay phones in Cobourg? Where?

Reply to  Ken Strauss
31 March 2021 6:45 pm

What’s a pay phone?

Last edited 1 year ago by JimT
Reply to  Ken Strauss
31 March 2021 9:33 pm

Northumberland Mall offers pay phones – haven’t seen any at Walmart.

31 March 2021 9:43 am

Neat! I can hardly wait to give this thing a try!

Now, if they would just arrange such that we can order a bus pass on line and pay for it the same way as any other internet purchase and pick it up or have it mailed each month, that would be wonderful.

Reply to  JimT
31 March 2021 11:55 am

I concur Jim, but why not just keep a few ‘toonies’ in your pocket? I am sure there will be a ‘fare box’ on the bus, that one could deposit their fare into?
As I mentioned once before…one can call the bus from one’s home phone, but I guess one has to find a ‘pay phone’ to call for the bus, while in and around town, to get themselves home? We don’t have a ‘cell phone’!
We’ll leave the discussion about how the ‘big three’ telecom companies are ‘ripping off’ the Canadian public!…..a good reason not to subscribe to any ‘cell phone’ plan!
Thanks to John for all this helpful info!
I guess I’m just a ‘dinosaur’……or is it my Scottish blood?

Reply to  Ken
31 March 2021 12:39 pm

My ski jacket is bulging with loonies & toonies. I just prefer to wave a pass, plus it’s cheaper if you ride a lot.

My cell phone costs me just $28.25 a month & I get unlimited local calling, voice mail, call display, texts and a lot more, plus I can carry it in my pocket and call for a bus, cab or ambulance any time or place.

Get this: yesterday I was puttering around the yard and starting my gardening while talking on my phone all the while with a friend in Golden Plough, both of us wearing headphones with built-in microphone, me with my little gizmo tucked into the pouch of my hoodie. Neato!

Worth every ¢ for sure.

Constance Mealing
Reply to  JimT
31 March 2021 11:26 pm

Who is your server? That is an excellent rate and worth every penny.

Reply to  Constance Mealing
1 April 2021 3:34 am

Bell Cda & Virgin both have them:
BYOD 25 – NW

  • Can-Can Text – Unlimited
  • .65 Canada to US LD
  • 5G Access
  • Call Display
  • Message Centre Lite
  • Unlimited Canada minutes
  • Unltd Picture & Video Messaging

Total charges (before taxes, credits and mandatory service fees)
$25.00 per month

No internet – just a neat little phone/camera++. I do my surfing at home through Cogeco.

Constance Mealing
Reply to  JimT
1 April 2021 8:55 am

Thank you

Reply to  Constance Mealing
1 April 2021 5:38 am

Here’s another excellent plan for seniors, and they supply the smart phone if you need it. – Google -” telus mobility for good for seniors”

Constance Mealing
Reply to  jimq26
1 April 2021 8:56 am


Old Sailor
30 March 2021 5:25 pm


The Town should pay you a hefty monthly fee for being the only provider of information on what’s going on in Town. Your Bloggers are so lucky – including Council members. All while the Town offices are closed, who knows for how long. Not having to deal with the public must provide Town employees with some pain relief:):):)

Merry Mary
Reply to  Old Sailor
31 March 2021 8:16 am

Thanks, John!
As always, there is extensive and beneficial information to retain! We are grateful that you even provide the option to print the article on such a vital topic!

Reply to  Merry Mary
31 March 2021 6:43 pm

Agree. If and when the pilot is successful–and it should be if everyone downloads the App—Cobourg should be part of Rideco’s success. They are a start-up company from Waterloo. Start ups are either looking for VC money or contracts with Towns like ours that they can monetize, so we should take an equity stake when they ask us to sign their big expensive contact OR we should have the geniuses over at Venture 13 make a federal investment in them in exchange for them hiring a couple local students interested in tech/STEM applications.

Reply to  Dunkirk
31 March 2021 7:20 pm

If this is a Canadian start-up company, we should be offering them lots of support and encouragement and a minimum of impediments to their success.

Venture Capital funds are always scarce for relatively untried concepts, but it’s unlikely we can get equity in the company because it is privately held.

Their list of customers in both Canada and the U.S. is impressive, and I predict a successful launch here, as long as we don’t make onerous demands on them from the get-go.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  JimT
31 March 2021 8:11 pm

Hopefully our partnership with Rideco will be more successful than our streetlight venture!

Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 April 2021 3:38 am

I keep hearing mutterings about that. Would love to know all the juicy details.

Reply to  JimT
1 April 2021 6:39 am

Me too.

Reply to  Frenchy
1 April 2021 8:49 am

The town got sued by Sylvania for their involvement with a street light supplier…(went into a business partnership with it) who claimed false ownership of the “light bulb patten” apparently. Cobourg lost the law suit and wound up paying I believe $50,000 in damages. Town owned a large inventory of lights assemblies. As a separate note, I always wondered how we got such lousy fall apart & down overhead lights for the rinks at the CCC that were all changed last summer at what cost…I recon about $100,000. Was there a trade…we will never know.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 April 2021 9:52 am

According to Mr. Hossain (see above linked article from Northumberland News) Mr. Helmer is “Sales Associate” for Luxlite according to an article in the Cobourg Star. Further, the article continues:

While the estimated cost to change 2,395 of the town’s streetlights (including heritage lighting conversions) to Luxlite fixtures and bulbs is $1.25-million, the actual cost is twice that, Mr. Hossain said. Asked about payment, he said the company is still working out the details.

“We’re very flexible,” he said.

The exact degree of “flexibility” in payments is an interesting question.