With funding from the Government of Canada’s Rural Transit Solutions Fund, the qathet Regional District and Tla’amin Nation are exploring the feasibility of a rural on-demand transit option for Electoral Areas A, B, C, D and Tla’amin Nation. This study will analyze various service models to see if digital on-demand transit is a good fit for our region and look at how on-demand transit would integrate with the existing rural paratransit service.
We thank everyone who participated in Phase 2 – Public Engagement. Our team is now analyzing the community’s input as they develop potential on-demand transit service scenarios.
One of the options we are exploring is on-demand transit, also known as digital on-demand transit. This is a service where someone can request a trip between two locations. Unlike a fixed route service where the bus comes at set times to designated stops, on-demand transit riders typically use app-based technology to schedule rides when they need them. Routes, stops and overall travel-times are determined by passenger pick-up and drop-off locations.
With an on-demand service, trips are usually scheduled dynamically, allowing for near real-time requests for trips. This is similar to ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. However, like the existing Zunga Bus service in Powell River, trips are shared with other passengers. Pick-up and drop-off locations may require residents to walk a short distance. For users with disabilities or mobility challenges, door-to-door service could be provided.
To learn more about on-demand transit, check out our What is On Demand Transit? overview.
With partial funding from the qRD, BC Transit operates three fixed paratransit routes in the rural areas of the qathet region:
- Route 12: Stillwater
- Route 13: Texada Island
- Route 14: Lund
These routes primarily operate on a predetermined route and follow a set schedule. An on-request service that will pick up and drop off travelers at any location within the designated service area is available on Routes 12 and 14. Please visit the BC Transit – Powell River website for more route information.
The purpose of this project is to explore the feasibility of potential on-demand transit solutions and develop an implementation plan for the recommended scenario that would meet the needs of residents in Electoral Areas A, B, C and D of the qathet Regional District and Tla’amin Nation.
The overarching objectives of an on-demand transit service are to:
- Remove barriers to transportation in the rural areas of the qathet region,
- Establish reliable, accessible and frequent transportation,
- Provide mobility to seniors without private transportation,
- Connect youth to social cohesion, recreation, entertainment and employment,
- Connect the vulnerable to health care and professional services,
- Enable remote area residents the opportunity to employment and education, and
- Align with GHG strategy emissions and reduce vehicular CO2 emissions.
The ideal end product will be one that operates and is available at the times when the public needs it so they can enjoy a quality of life without roadblocks.
The final report will include:
- An analysis of the existing paratransit service.
- A simulation of an on-demand transit service.
- A recommendation of the most effective option to achieve the project’s overarching objectives while maintaining financial viability.
- An implementation plan for the recommended option that details the operational and capital requirements for an initial three-year pilot period.
We conducted several open houses and an online survey in October 2023. The final plan will be presented to the qathet Regional District Board of Directors in early 2024. Board meetings are open to the general public.
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Staff are available to answer questions regarding this project. Contact Cherise Roberts, Special Projects Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 604-485-2260.