An on-demand pilot project will be part of a trio of options put forth by Grande Prairie Transit officials as they try to find efficiencies in the service.
Transit Director Steve Harvard says there are transit routes and times in the city where ridership is very low and sporadic. The idea behind an on-demand service, separate from Grande Prairie Accessible Transit, is to try to fill in the gaps of service for those areas.
“My expectation [is] it will be an app-related piece of software that people can book their own trips if they wish,” he says. “The whole intent is to make it as convenient as possible, and it’s when the service isn’t as busy, but people would still like to get around.”
Harvard says while there is no intent to move away from traditional fixed routes with the city’s fleet of electric buses, the idea of a community shuttle is also being batted around. He adds, in the case of the shuttles, the service would be provided by a vehicle similar in size to accessible buses.
“They’re 16 passenger buses, and that will be the second piece of the transit system… but again, certain routes, and certain times and days, that is the most appropriate size of a bus to put on the road as opposed to a full 40-foot bus.”
Harvard says, despite an upfront cost of up to $100,000 for the app-related software, he believes providing an on-demand service in a strategic manner will result in lowering the net cost per ride without impacting customer service levels.