First-and-last-mile, General transportation, Microtransit
12 vehicles, 4 WAVs
of rides are shared
increase in average daily ridership, despite Covid
square kilometer service zone
The western Niagara region is a sprawling area that’s part rural, part urban, and wholly underserved by transit. Struggling to provide wide and efficient transit coverage for residents, the Regional Municipality of Niagara partnered with Via Strategies, Via’s consulting team, to evaluate the feasibility of on-demand transportation across the region. The study concluded that an on-demand solution could provide better coverage and improved service than would a fixed route alternative.
In August 2020, Via and Niagara launched NRT OnDemand, a turnkey service in the western part of Niagara Region. The service utilizes 10 vans, includes accessible vehicles, and covers the entire region, connecting residents to community centres and GO Transit connections, as well as point-to-point destinations. The service quickly expanded by two vans to include Niagara-on-the-Lake and serves the Old Town and Virgil, and provides connections to regional transit in Glendale. For both west Niagara and Niagara-on-the-Lake, riders can book rides through an app or by phone, and students and seniors can access special concession fares.
NRT OnDemand has exceeded expectations. Ridership growth remains strong — up over 400% in the first six months, despite tough market conditions resulting from COVID-19. A total of 10,300 rides have been completed with 98% on-time performance, an average wait time of only 13 minutes, and an average rider rating of 4.8 out of 5. Nearly 30% of rides are shared, and vehicle utilization continues to improve. There is great potential for exponential growth in a post-pandemic Niagara.
We wanted it done in a cost-effective way that doesn’t leave people waiting around. Fixed-route transit service isn’t feasible.”
We looked at buses, but with the input expenditures and the fact they would be empty most of the time, it didn’t make sense. This does. The point-to-point aspect is huge.”
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