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City staff looking into transit on demand

The city is looking at the feasibility of an on-demand transit style system in Grande Prairie.

Councillor Dylan Bressey pushed a discussion on upgrading transit services in Grande Prairie on Tuesday as part of the Community Services Committee meeting. He suggests having an appointment-based aspect as part of the transit service simply makes sense.

“I just think we now have better technological tools and more experience than we had even six months ago, and that means I think we should have a serious look at how we can pull the trigger on it here in Grande Prairie.”

Bressey says he has seen first hand what a similar system can do in other medium-sized Alberta cities. He points to the Town of Cochrane’s use of the “Colt” system, which has customers make appointments to get on the bus so transit operators can create the most efficient route possible. He says while it may not be as convenient as something like a ride share or taxi service, it is something that is potentially more cost-effective for users.

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“It is cost-prohibitive for a lot of people, for somebody who is relying on getting back and forth from a retail type job, they can’t afford to take two cab rides a day.”

Bressey adds, while not knowing any specifics as to the costs of launching a similar program in Grande Prairie, he believes there is likely an opportunity to deliver better service without increasing the transit budget.

“It’s way cheaper to send a bus out into a neighbourhood late at night to pick up one person when they actually need to be picked up than to have a bus constantly going through a neighbourhood just waiting for someone to show up.”

It’s expected a report into the possibility of transit on demand will make its way to city council at a meeting yet to be determined.

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