The London Transit Commission is currently considering three options to introduce on-demand transit to Innovation Park, an industrial site in London’s east end.
On-demand transit is a new type of transit service that allows customers to book trips online based on preset times designed to increase the number of people on each vehicle and also cut down on wait and travel times.
“As a councillor, I am very excited about this. This is something we can apply city-wide and to other underused areas,” said city councillor and LTC board chair Phil Squire during an LTC meeting Wednesday.
Once implemented at Innovation Park, Dennis Kar from Dillon Consulting said they can then apply the same ideas to future on-demand transit projects in other areas of London.
Dillon Consulting is the company that was hired to create a report on the best options to move forward with the plan.
“We met with employers at Innovation Park and requested data on shift times and employees per shift. We used this data to estimate the transit demand by time of day and day of the week to determine the optimal time to provide on-demand service,” Kar said.
Kar presented the LTC with three options to create an on-demand service during Wednesday night’s board meeting.
The first option called for creating an on-demand service from Argyle Mall to Innovation Park, using one vehicle during the early morning and evening.
The second option under consideration would look at converting the pre-existing route 37 to an on-demand service and combining it with the Innovation Park on-demand service. Kar said this option would also expand the hours of operation for those that use route 37.
Finally, the third option would expand route 30 into a fully on-demand zone, including Innovation Park and the employment area along route 37.
Kar said options one and two require the least amount of resources and had the highest potential to accommodate trip requests, whereas option three provided the highest level of convincing but would be difficult to accommodate all trip requests without further resources.
Looking at who would operate the new transit plan, Kar laid out three options: LTC vehicles and drivers, contracting out to a private transit company, and the final option is to contract a taxi company for service by the trip instead of a flat hourly rate.
Breaking down the three transit options, Kar said London Transit is the easiest to operate, whereas contracting out would likely cost less, and option three would only be cost effective if ridership demand was low and the program was hard to implement.
The next step is for the LTC to pick a plan and create a pilot service to test the plan out.
LTC staff will be reviewing all options before going forward.
LTC staff say if all goes well they would be able to get a plan up and running by the end of February 2022.