In December 2020, Council approved a pilot of an On-Demand Transit system to replace the existing fixed route system and at the Regular Council meeting on May 16, Council approved ongoing use of the On-Demand system. This combines the existing On-Demand Wheels system for disabled users and will soon use three smaller (8 m – 26 ft) buses which will provide service for both Wheels and regular Transit users. This requires purchase of two new buses like the existing Wheels Bus but Government grants reduce Cobourg’s cost (more below). Council debated changes to service hours but in the end, voted to stop service at 9:00 pm instead of 10:00 pm. A second suggestion to reduce phone-in time from 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm was defeated – this would have saved $29,000 per year.
Staff’s report to council included results of the Pilot and results of a survey. KPI (Key performance Indicators) results were muddied by the pandemic but staff noticed improvement as the pandemic abated and when the Pilot was altered to “commingle” the Wheels service with the regular service.
The staff report is quite comprehensive – see Resources below for a link – it includes detailed analysis of the pilot/trial including goals and KPIs. Below are some KPIs that seem to be the most informative.
|Ridership||129 riders / weekend; 23 riders/evening|
|Search to book conversion rate||92%|
|Total Failed Search Rate||6%|
|Number of passengers per shared ride||2.3|
|Percentage of Rides at Virtual Stops||37%|
A total of 78 riders submitted feedback by taking the user survey, either online or by hard copy. Of the 78 participants, only 62 had utilized the on-demand service.
- 84% of users who had tried the service identified that moving forward post pilot they would like to see the transit service continue as On-Demand.
- 16% of users who had tried the service identified that they would like to revert to fixed route service
- 16 users who had not tried the service, indicated that they would like to revert to the fixed route service.
Staff concluded: Overall based on the feedback provided by those who have used On-Demand services, the new service model has been well received.
Below is the final motion as approved by Council.
THAT Council direct Staff to implement a Fully On-Demand Transit Service, which is Option 1 of the “On-Demand Transit Pilot Results Report”, and
FURTHER THAT Council approve the purchase of two Small Arboc 8m Specialty Vehicles (Report: Type B) at an approximate cost of $160,000.00 each for a total cost of $320,000.00, with a total Municipal contribution of $85,344.00 (26.67%), and through Metrolinx, monitor the possibility of purchasing a hybrid version of the Type B vehicle; and,
FURTHER THAT Council approve ending the hours of operation at 9:00 pm, a reduction of 1 hour, for an approximate savings of $20,000.00 annually (Report: option i), and,
FURTHER THAT Council authorize Staff to renegotiate the transit operations contract with the current provider for the remaining two (2) years to realign contract fees with the approved transit service option and vehicle types that is not to exceed the 2023/2024 fees of the current contract.
The Arboc 8m vehicles can seat 14 ambulatory + 1 mobility aid or 12 ambulatory + 2 mobility aids.
Smaller buses are needed to allow access to all residential streets including those that 30 ft buses cannot access.
Note that even the smaller buses will not be full and even if they are, the on-demand system means a second bus will accommodate the extras.
The intent is to sell the Town’s existing 30 ft buses. No estimate has been provided of expected savings although there are predicted to be net savings because of increased ridership (eventually).
- On Demand Transit Pilot Results – Full staff report as referenced in motion
- Cobourg Internet Transit Page
- Town Transit page
Previous Posts on Cobourg News Blog
- Cobourg Transit Changes – 10 Feb 2022
- Transit Fares to Increase – 2 Dec 2021
- On Demand Transit Trial to Start – 30 March 2021 – includes links to earlier posts