Product Features

Was Your On-Demand Transit Pilot Successful? 5 KPIs You Need to Monitor


Jess Blenkarn


4 min read

Jess Blenkarn
4 min read

An on-demand transit pilot is successful when the goals of the agency are met or exceeded. The goals of every agency are specific to their individual needs, which means success is specific to each agency.

Further, the success criteria will vary across individual zones or use cases launched by an agency and should be balanced against the agency’s overarching objectives. Generally, we have found that agencies’ goals fall into the following categories: cost, coverage, and convenience, while preserving or growing ridership. In order to meet those goals, agencies should monitor the following specific KPIs:

On-Time Performance

This KPI represents how often passengers arrive at their final destination at or before the guaranteed arrival time provided at the time of booking. At RideCo, we maintain a 95%+ on-time performance. This is achieved through providing passengers with a pick up window and a guaranteed arrival time, which enables passengers to plan ahead and arrive at important appointments on time with reliability, for example.

Other vendors that provide on-demand transit solutions optimize on either the pick-up or dropoff times and provide a floating ETA. As demand increases, other vendors’ on-time performance can be jeopardized by the increase of trip requests. When looking at fixed-route buses, depending on the agencies’ on-board technology, on-time performance can be variable and unreliable despite the set schedule and route (note, this is not always the case).

While most of our services achieve a +95% on-time performance record, many achieve greater than that. Our services in Houston and Carlsbad have achieved a 98% on-time performance.

Most of our services achieve a 95%+ on-time performance record.

Productivity (Passengers per Vehicle Hour)

Productivity links directly to cost savings. If an agency is able to move more people with less resources, they can save money while improving the passenger experience.

Passengers per vehicle hour (PVH) differs widely depending on the vehicles available and the size of the service zone, but our point-to-point service in San Antonio has achieved a 5.0 PVH providing significant cost savings, while improving the overall transit service delivery!

Wait Times and On Board Times

Underperforming bus routes usually run every 30 minutes to an hour, meaning passengers could be waiting at stops for up to sixty minutes. With on-demand transit, service runs more frequently resulting in lower wait times, usually between 10–30 minutes, depending on the size of the zone and the number of vehicles. This increased frequency enables higher levels of convenience and the ability to book rides at the last minute which inevitably increases ridership.

Fixed-route public transit also generally takes the long way to any given passenger’s final destination, as the bus or train must stop at multiple stops in between and only follows a set route, often on major roads, potentially requiring a transfer to a different route. On-demand transit reduces passengers on board times by taking a more direct route to their final destination, while picking up a few other passengers while staying on the most efficient route. With the guaranteed arrival time and pick up window, passengers know in advance how long they will be on board.

In Springbank Hill, Calgary, we have achieved ten minute wait times and just five minute on board times!

While we strive for wait times between 15 and 30 minutes, some services achieve even lower wait times!

Ride Denials, No Shows, and Cancellations

It is also important to monitor how many times riders cancel their ride, do not show up for their ride, or the system is unable to provide them with a ride. Through monitoring the latter, agencies can determine where within their zones more vehicles are needed and specifically at what time of day.

For agencies that are dealing with a lot of no-shows or cancellations, RideCo has a Throttling feature, which is able to discourage this behavior and provide a potential opportunity for rider education. For example, if a rider continuously does not show up for their ride or cancels their ride, this rider can be suspended from the app for a given amount of time. Agencies can set unique parameters for this feature in order to keep the service running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Improvement in the Passenger Experience

Each one of the four KPIs described above contribute to an improvement in the passenger experience. With on-demand transit, passengers see an increase in on-time performance and efficiency resulting from productivity, they have shorter waiting times and onboard times, and they have greater availability for rides with our Throttling feature.

It’s no wonder that most of our services achieve a 4.7 / 5 star average rating from passengers, with some services, such as Calgary, achieving a rating of 4.9 / 5.

In order for agencies to monitor all of these important KPIs, we send agencies a daily KPI report via email, where we capture data such as popular rider pick up and drop off locations, customer demographics, driver performance, passenger type, and more. We also auto generate national transit database (NTD) data, and send it directly to the agency.

By tracking these KPIs, agencies are able to make the best decisions for the future of their transit services, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of how on-demand transit is positively impacting cost, coverage, convenience, or any other goal an agency may have!

Contact us to learn more about our KPI reports and how on-demand transit can help you meet your goals.

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