The public transportation industry is seeing a transformative shift where agencies around the world are adopting on-demand technology to solve some of their toughest transit challenges. These solutions typically fall into one of four main categories, called on-demand transit use cases.
Each use case has its unique applications and some agencies even use on-demand transit across multiple use cases within zones to solve multiple problems.
This use case provides connections that close the gap between fixed-route transit and trip origins and destinations. Residents that live in neighborhoods with limited access to transit are picked up near their homes (usually less than 300 feet away) and connected into fixed routes. RideCo’s innovative Time Snapping feature enables riders to arrive at their fixed-route stops just minutes before the bus or train departs. This results in less time waiting at bus stops while connecting and a more efficient use of vehicles.
We operate a first/last mile service in Carrington/Livingston with Calgary Transit. These two newer communities in the northernmost part of Calgary had no efficient means of accessing express transit that would connect them to other parts of the city. When Calgary Transit implemented on-demand transit as a first/last mile solution, residents saw many benefits.
When fixed-route buses drive around empty because they don’t go to the places riders want to go or they are simply too difficult to access, agencies can replace them with cost-effective microtransit.
With our trip optimization engine, network conditions are continuously evaluated to ensure vehicles are taking the best possible route, avoiding road closures and heavy traffic, and accommodating for any vehicle breakdowns. The result is shared rides that increase productivity while also lowering the cost per passenger.
When three fixed bus routes in Northeast San Antonio were underperforming due to low population density, VIA Metro partnered with RideCo to replace these routes with high performing on-demand transit. With RideCo, VIA’s cost per passenger was reduced by 30% and there was a 3x improvement in wait times.
Even in large areas with small populations and dispersed trip patterns, agencies can still improve mobility for their residents. Some city zones might not be populated enough for fixed routes to make sense financially, but that’s where on-demand transit can help.
This efficient and flexible service enables short trips within the zone to where passengers want to go. It also takes personal vehicles off the road to help reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
For our service with Cochrane On-demand Local Transit (COLT), RideCo provided a small but rapidly growing town with a customized on-demand transit model. With four shuttles in a 12 square mile zone, the service was able to achieve many objectives, including:
Most paratransit services are outdated with their reliance on call centers, requiring passengers to book their rides over 24 hours in advance to ensure they don’t miss important appointments or meetings. This method limits flexibility for riders and overwhelms call centers, causing difficulties with scheduling and dispatching. Embracing on-demand technology solves these challenges and brings advantages for both the passenger and the agency.
For example, one of our paratransit services with Houston METRO had over 60% reduction in bookings through the call center, while overall bookings increased by over 15%. The service also saw a reduction in wait times from 60 minutes to just 10 minutes, as well as 98% on-time performance.
“With this app, operators will be able to onboard customers on their own … In the past they would have to call in over the radio and a dispatcher would have to schedule that trip ... and place it on the schedule. [This] new service has allowed more freedom for the customer and more freedom for the operators to manage their own trips.”
- Michael Andrade, Director of Paratransit Services of Houston METRO
Implementing on-demand transit through one or more of these use cases enables streamlined paratransit operations, improved mobility, higher productivity, and an increase in coverage for static, fixed-route transit systems.
At RideCo, we will address your transit challenges and find a solution that not only works for you, but for your community as well. To learn more about which use case would solve your agency’s specific transit challenges, contact us!