TripSpark’s new Rides on Demand microtransit app helped Lethbridge, Alberta Transit navigate COVID-19.
LETHBRIDGE, Alberta, November 30, 2020 (Newswire.com) – Earlier this year, it was business as usual for Lethbridge Transit – averaging 11,000 riders per day, until COVID-19 hit the scene.
Ridership immediately plummeted by 90%, so they pivoted to a holiday schedule – operating during the same hours with fewer buses. By mid-March, they had to switch to back-door boarding, offering free rides to improve accessibility and reduce contact with drivers. People then began using the bus for warm shelter, or simply went for rides out of sheer boredom. This caused a problem – those travelling for essential needs and services (groceries, doctor visits) were legitimately concerned with the lack of social distancing.
Change was needed
Lethbridge Transit realized they needed to take a different approach to ensure public transit would be safe and viable for those travelling for essential needs and services. Being an existing TripSpark customer, they were already familiar with our demand-response software, so they opted to implement a microtransit-type service model using their full-sized fixed route busses.
Implementing a microtransit service
The most important thing for the team at Lethbridge Transit was to provide safe and reliable transit service for those who needed it. By setting their maximum passenger occupancy in Novus, they were able to control ridership and ensure that threshold was not exceeded.
“We just needed to make sure that we’re providing a service for those who needed it, providing it safely and being able to space people out, and making it reliable. Transit before the pandemic was a lot different, we used to just pack people on the bus.” – Jeff Gillette
By implementing Rides by Reservation using TripSpark’s demand-response software, Lethbridge Transit has been able to facilitate social distancing by ensuring a bus has no more than 14 passengers. Riders now feel safer and since they are on one bus for the entirety of their journey, many of them experience shorter travel times than when they made the same trip previously using fixed route service. Things have been going very smoothly with the impromptu new service and Lethbridge Transit expects ride requests to increase to 600 trips per day once they begin to open to non-essential travel.
Our Rides on Demand App can help your agency cope with challenges you are currently facing such as dwindling ridership, growing catchment areas and ever-increasing rider expectations. Rides on Demand gives riders mobility options by providing on-demand, microtransit service, that sits between fixed route transit and more individual transportation options. The app (available on Google Play and the Apple App Store) enables your agency to offer flexible service with automated scheduling using the same TripSpark software you trust for your paratransit services. Riders will be able to self-register and book their own trips that are scheduled using the existing on-demand functionality that can be set up with our Novus software.
Senior Marketing Manager
Source: TripSpark Technologies