Calgary

On-demand transit coming to 2 north Calgary communities

Starting May 24, people in Livingston and Carrington can arrange a van to take them to a transit terminal — for the cost of a regular bus fare.

Rides will cost the same as any Calgary Transit fare

Calgary Transit's new on-demand bus service will pick people up from any location in Livingston and Carrington by van and take them to the Northe Point transit hub. (Julie Debeljak/CBC)

Residents in two Calgary communities without traditional bus service will soon be able to request a ride — on demand.

Starting May 24, residents in Livingston and Carrington can use the free Calgary Transit On Demand app to book a van that will pick them up from any location in those neighbourhoods, and take them to the Northe Pointe transit hub.

Rides will cost the same as any Calgary Transit fare — $3.40 per adult and $2.35 for youth six to 17 — and transfers will be given to riders switching to another bus. The service will be free for the first three days to give riders a chance to try it out.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek, who was one of those behind the pilot project, said it should save money given the relatively small number of people living in new communities. 

"The goal is that it should save the city money because if you put on a bus and it's virtually empty because you've predicted a pattern that doesn't exist, you've actually wasted a lot of money trying to figure out what the demand actually is," she said.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek was one of the councillors behind the on-demand pilot project. (Julie Debeljak/CBC)

"In this particular case, we're using a tool that serves the need well and we can track it to figure out what bus service should look like into the future."

The $338,000 pilot project will run for one year to determine whether it's more efficient to offer on-demand service or scheduled buses in new communities.

Gondek said if more than one person is interested in getting a ride at the same time, the stop picks a central location to all of them — never further than 400 metres away from each person requesting.

Here's a look at Calgary Transit's new on-demand buses, which will service people in Carrington and Livingston. (Calgary Transit)

Raffay Ilyas relies on a family member to get a lift to North Pointe to catch his bus to the University of Calgary. He said he's looking forward to trying the new service.

"It's going to make my life much easier," he said.

Calgary Transit's website says it is aiming to have buses arrive within 15 minutes of the requested time, but times may increase during periods of high demand. The vehicle will only wait up to two minutes for passengers at their requested pick-up locations.

Accessible vehicles will be available on request, and groceries, luggage and pets in carriers will be allowed if they fit in the back of the van.

Hours and more details on the service are available on Calgary Transit's website.

With files from Scott Dippel

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