On-demand transit coming to Okotoks

Transit is coming to Okotoks this fall. Global News / Carolyn Kury de Castillo

Okotoks residents will soon be able to travel around the southern Alberta town without using their cars or trucks, thanks to a new on-demand transit service expected to launch in the fall.

Town council members approved the so-called Local Transit Implementation Plan at a meeting on Monday.

Through the service, users will be able to book a trip within the town’s boundary via an app or phone call. Passengers will be picked up at the curb in front of their location in a small van or shuttle, and dropped off at their destination. The app will provide estimated wait times for riders.

The plan is for the rides to be a “no-cash service” with tickets paid for electronically through the app or in person at identified locations. The cost of a ticket is proposed to be $2.75 for all riders older than five.

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“Through our public participation with residents, we learned that they preferred to keep the price below $3,” senior planner Colin Gainer said in a Tuesday news release. “The approved fee is affordable while designed to help offset operation costs.”

READ MORE: Okotoks asks residents to help count deer using free app

Operating costs are estimated between $600,000 and $700,000 and will be finalized once the service is established. Town officials say funding from the provincial GreenTRIP program will cover two-thirds of Okotoks’ cost to purchase vehicles to run the service.

“Instead of investing in infrastructure, we are investing in customer experience that meets the needs of our residents,” Mayor Bill Robertson explained.

“Residents have consistently indicated that providing in-town transit is a priority and an on-demand service offers the best model for Okotoks.”

The Town of Okotoks will be sharing more information about the service and how it works in the coming months via its website.

Okotoks is located about 20 kilometres south of Calgary.

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