Winnipeg is launching a pilot project that will allow transit riders to book bus rides through a mobile app.
The On Request transit app will use GPS technology and trip-planning software to plan routes in real time and respond to rider requests immediately.
“Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, On Request transit was highlighted in the 2021 balanced budget update as a way in which the City of Winnipeg might be able to respond to unpredictable changes in demand that all transit services grapple with,” said Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman in a press conference.
“With the challenges Winnipeg Transit has faced during the pandemic, On Request transit was seen as a way to make Winnipeg Transit more efficient, while also improving the rider experience by focusing on the needs of those who need to get to point a to point b.”
Bowman added that similar services have been tested other Canadian cities, including Edmonton, Regina, and Saskatoon.
“While outcomes vary, the common theme we see being observed is increased efficiency and decreased wait times for riders,” Bowman said.
The $140,000 pilot project will launch on Aug. 12 in three zones, including route 101 St. Amant-Plaza Drive, route 102 Southdale-Island Lakes, and route 110 St. Boniface-Norwood. The app will replace the current dial-a-ride-transit (DART) service in those zones.
The app will give riders details on pick-up and drop-off locations, approximate time the bus will meet them, and total trip time.
“The app will give passengers real-time tracking info for their bus and notifications on the status of their bus directly to the user’s phone,” project manager Adam Budowski said.
Riders can still book through the website or by calling 311.
The app is expected to be available for download on Aug. 6.