The city announced Wednesday that it has found two providers for an on-demand bus service set to launch in Edmonton in 2021.
Edmonton Transit Service selected shuttle company Pacific Western Transportation (PWT) and Via, a company that designs ride-based apps and systems, to run a shuttle bus program that will connect residents in some neighbourhoods to transit hubs.
Council voted to test the service, which will run initially as a two-year pilot project, in February.
Read more: Edmonton to test on-demand transit service
A total of 57 PWT shuttle buses will be part of the on-demand network during the pilot. They will not follow fixed routes and will come pick up residents by request in certain communities that have been pre-selected by the city.
The communities that will be testing the program include eight new and 22 more established neighbourhoods. They were selected based on certain criteria. For example, an older community was selected if more than 20 per cent of the population must walk more than 600 metres to the nearest stop.
Eighteen seniors’ residences will also be provided with the on-demand service option.
“As Edmonton continues to grow and evolve, we are looking for creative transportation solutions to keep our residents connected,” Eddie Robar, branch manager of Edmonton Transit Service, said in a Wednesday news release.
“That’s one of the reasons we are excited to work with PWT and Via as partners to provide On-Demand Transit given their strong experience operating on-demand service in Western Canada and applying their technology globally.”
The service will be booked through a Via-run app or website and will pick customers up “from designated stops in their neighbourhood to nearby transit hubs.” During the pilot, there will be no charge to use the on-demand buses.
PWT also runs the on-demand bus services in Calgary, Cochrane and Okotoks.
The on-demand pilot project will roll out along with Edmonton’s new bus network in mid-2021.
The full list of the communities and seniors’ residences that are included in the new program is on the city website.