As part of the 2021 budget deliberations, Council authorized a year-long trial of an On-Demand Transit system. This would improve service and probably increase the number of users. If successful, it would allow bus sizes to be reduced and reduce costs. At Monday’s regular Council meeting, the proposed suppliers made a presentation to Council with additional details. The current Transit Contractor, Pacific Western, plus their software partner Rideco, listed other municipalities using or planning to use their On-Demand Service – both Pacific Western Transit (PWT) and Rideco are Canadian companies although Rideco has several US customers including San Antonio, LA and Houston. They also demonstrated their App and gave a timeline for the Trial. PWT has 35 Transit Contracts in Canada with 8 of them “On-Demand”.
Details are below but there are more in previous articles – see Links. All Councillors were enthusiastic. The trial would include extensive Public Engagement and a marketing campaign to explain details.
There are a number of features not highlighted in previous descriptions of the system
- The Wheels service (aimed at riders with disabilities) would be integrated. During the trial, Wheels buses would be directed to anyone needing their accessibility but new buses would be able to serve all categories of clients.
- Rides would be booked in advance and riders would be given a 10 minute window when their bus would arrive.
- Arrival times can be specified and are guaranteed with a 95% success rate.
- The service is essentially curb to curb – riders can specify origin and destination addresses
- Payment would normally be in advance and online using a credit card but vouchers (tickets) can also be used
- Once booked, the rider can track where the bus is and when they will be picked up.
- Data is collected on usage and could be used to adjust operating hours to meet demand
- Current fixed stops would be included as origin and destination addresses.
- Instead of a wait of up to an hour, On-Demand promises a 20-30 minute wait.
- Rides can be booked by an iPhone, Android, or desktop app or by phone to a call-centre or if desired at Transit booths (perhaps setup at the Library, or Vic Hall?)
- The service would cover all of Cobourg – not just the current area.
As mentioned in a previous post, Council approved $40K to fund the trial.
- Full presentation to Council
- Video of Council meeting – go to 1:42:10 to see demo of the app.
- More on Micro-Transit Trial – 16 January 2021
- Town Considering Trial of Micro-Transit – 16 December 2020
- An Innovative Transit System – 31 August 2020