On Demand is the application of transportation where vehicles alter their routes based on particular demand, rather than using a fixed route or timetable.
Pacific Western Transportation (PWT) is a full-service transportation company experienced in all aspects of On-Demand transportation operations:
- Planning and service design
- Technology implementation
- Payment integration
- Operational training and management
- Launch support and marketing
- Ongoing performance optimization
We transport thousands of people daily through our on demand, shared, and dynamically routed services.
SERVICE MODEL DESIGN
We help you define your on demand transportation service parameters.
PLANNING & SUPPORT
We ensure your service launches without a hitch!
We create a buzz and build ridership.
We maximize efficiency with predictive demand.
Our Success Stories
Learn more about a few of our highly successful On Demand transportation operations:
COCHRANE, AB: COLT (Cochrane On-Demand Local Transit)
In 2019, PWT was chosen to implement and operate local on demand transit in Cochrane, AB – the first of its kind in Canada. The COLT service increases accessibility and alleviates traffic congestion issues experienced by the community.
Okotoks Transit on-demand is a curb-to-curb, ride-sharing service launched in December 2019. This is a customer-first service, increasing the ability for all residents to move more freely around town, including youth, seniors, those with disabilities, as well as residents who prefer not to use a personal vehicle. Users are able to book the service through the Okotoks Transit app, the website, or over the phone and receive curb-to-curb transportation within the town’s boundary.
Parkland County provides a first/last mile, point-to-door, demand-based transit system designed to connect commuter transit riders to their final work location within the business park. This operation services the area between bus stops and the businesses in Acheson zones 1-5.
A real-time dynamically routed transit service connecting the residents of developing communities to shopping and transit hubs. Passengers can book a trip with up to two hours’ notice in the two neighbourhoods (Livingston and Carrington) and the app will provide a location and time for the scheduled pickup.
In 2020, PWT was chosen to operate the largest on demand transit system in Canada, Edmonton On Demand. The service is a first-mile/last-mile service, catering to neighborhoods where fixed route service was not serving the community in the best way possible.
Coburg Rides is offering on-demand transportation for the Town of Coburg as of April 2021. The service is running with virtual stops around the town and is set to fully replace their existing fixed route service.
Spruce Grove’s On-Demand service began in May 2021 and is operating with virtual stops all across the City. This on-demand service is becoming Spruce Groves main public transit service within city limits, connecting residents with each other, and local services.
Flexible, shared ride service providing door-to-door service to the Town of Milton. The service is first being rolled out to MiltonAccess+, the transit system for persons with disabilities, and will be integrated to the rest of the town in the future.
PWT is dedicated to being the On Demand service provider of choice.
This includes developing and building new transportation services focused on solving the needs of ridership and introducing effective options aimed at curtailing traffic congestion and reducing environmental impact. Our On Demand Service offering is based on the following metrics:
|OUR PROMISE||SERVICE METRICS|
|SAFE – We’ll plan, design, and operate a transportation system that gets your clients Safely Home, every time.||
• Congregated stops, point-to-door, door-to-door
• Local experienced drivers
|RELIABLE – We’ll provide a dependable transit service by minimizing delays and being on time.||• Real-time ETA and location tracking|
|CUSTOMER SERVICE – We’ll provide service that is convenient and friendly with accurate and consistent communication.||
• User-friendly application
• Real-time service feedback
|EASY TO USE – We’ll make it easy to get around your community.||
• Personalized to match demand
• Variety of booking options – app, website, phone, walk-up
|INCLUSIVE – New mobility options are an opportunity to provide service to all citizens.||
• Accessible vehicles
• Mobility needs trained drivers
The mobility needs of our fastest-growing demographic – older adults – prompt the adoption of inclusivity and technology at the design core of transit systems.
Demand-based transportation continues to grow in interest, awareness, and real-world application – 5 key reasons to contract on-demand services
The Okotoks On-Demand Transit program was recently announced as the winner of the Minister’s Award for Municipal Excellence for Service Delivery Innovation by the Government of Alberta.
Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) partnered with Pacific Western Transportation for a discussion about Innovative Transit Solutions for Rural Communities.
We have all seen, firsthand, the changes in society that have been evident during this unprecedented pandemic. The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected all countries, provinces, and cities in different ways – whether that is in our business and work-life or our social lives. For many, it has meant spending a lot more time at home, making the demand for public transit decrease significantly.
This week we held Part 3 of On Demand Transit in Your City! The webinar was hosted by John Stepovy and James Vine from Pacific Western Transportation, Sarah Feldman from the City of Edmonton, and Hamish Campbell from Via.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions surrounding On Demand Transportation. Please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com with further questions you may have. With no obligation, PWT can review the feasibility of On Demand Transportation for your intended purpose and provide case studies for similar-sized operations. We have a group of experts who can review your current transit offerings and suggest ways that On Demand can complement your existing transit system.
What On Demand Transportation services does PWT currently operate?
- Cochrane On Demand Local Transit (COLT) – Cochrane, AB
- Okotoks Transit – Okotoks, AB
- Blackfalds On Demand Local Transit (BOLT) – Blackfalds, AB
- Calgary Transit On Demand – Calgary, AB
- Edmonton On Demand Transit – Edmonton, AB
- Syncrude On Demand Site Shuttles (DOT) – Fort McMurray, AB
- Cobourg Transit and Wheels – Cobourg, ON
What use cases are these services designed to address?
Use cases that current PWT On Demand services are designed to address include:
- Launch of transit or shuttle service
- Replacement of fixed-route transit or scheduled shuttle service
- Paratransit/non-emergency medical
- Business park/worksite/employee shuttles
- Special event transportation
- High density (condo/apartment) residential shuttles
- Complementary to conventional fixed-route transit
- First/last mile
- Peak service feeder
- Off-peak i.e. midday, evenings, weekends
- Underserved, remote, and/or developing neighbourhood coverage
Please reach out to us for specific case studies.
Can the On Demand software platforms and ride booking capability be accessed via an app and a website?
Yes, On Demand software platforms include ride-booking/tracking apps and driver apps that guide the activity of drivers. These apps can be ‘white-labeled’ and branded with a logo, colours, etc.
The software platforms also include ride-booking through websites and tracking of service through web portals for administrative/supervisory staff.
Does PWT have a call centre and how does this operate?
Yes, PWT has an On Demand Customer Care Call Centre. This call centre typically handles all trip booking requests, trip inquiries, and customer registrations. Complaints or calls about lost and found are usually forwarded back to staff physically located in each municipality or at the client’s place of business. Call centre functions, hours of service, and other factors can be customized based on client requests/needs.
The hours of the call centre are currently 5:00 to 23:00 MST, Monday to Friday, and 7:00 to 19:00 MST on weekends. Call centre hours can be adjusted based on client need.
Does the software have the capability of providing door-to-door service, curb-to-curb service, and stop-to-stop service? Will the software inform the driver if a passenger requires door-to-door service? Will the software adjust the passenger waiting period depending if it is a conventional passenger or a paratransit rider?
The software programs can accommodate the co-mingling of conventional and paratransit clientele and can adjust the rider profile to provide door-to-door service for one type of customer and curb-to-curb or stop-to-stop for others. Only when a client has been vetted through the standard eligibility process for paratransit/access service is their profile adjusted to allow for door-to-door pickup/drop off. In addition, details such as assistance requirements, mobility device type, etc. are attached to the customer’s profile so proper pick up instructions can be provided to drivers. The systems do account for the additional time required to load/unload mobility devices or assist customers to/from their door, so customer ETAs are upheld from initial trip proposal to trip execution.
What is PWT's role in customer service? (e.g. responding to complaints about the service or drivers, dealing with passengers who abuse the system (such as no shows), etc.?
PWT can handle all customer service inquiries and issues related to driving operations and is the initial point of contact for all passenger inquiries (unless they call the client as opposed to the on demand transit phone line). The client is expected to issue communications to customers who abuse the system and is expected to handle customer complaints related to service planning (i.e. customers who wish to express their dissatisfaction with the system converting from fixed route to on demand transit).
What data and reports can be provided to the client?
PWT develops KPIs in conjunction with the client and generates a comprehensive set of reports based on these parameters. All data gathered in the operation of the service will be shared with and owned by the client.
Does PWT assist with marketing strategy/materials? Will client communications/marketing staff be required to assist in this campaign?
PWT will assist with marketing plans and materials at no cost, although the expectation is that the client takes the lead on overall system marketing. Timelines for marketing/communications are generally set by the client by asking, “how much advanced notice will riders need of the conversion from fixed route to on demand?” Client marketing and communications staff typically take the lead in this regard to ensure consistency of messaging across client websites and social media accounts and consistency in branding, messaging, etc. Another important thing to note is that since users must register for the service (at least all those that utilize the app/web for bookings), PWT will have the email addresses of all transit customers. These email addresses will be shared with the client so direct marketing to those customers is possible. Note that when registering for the service the customer may be asked if they wish to receive marketing materials from the client, and they could select no.
Who is PWT’s preferred on demand software vendor?
PWT has service agreements with a number of on demand software vendors and assesses each potential system individually to determine the best fit for each client.
Can On Demand software platforms ensure passengers arrive at a location by a specific time in order to make connections with other transit services?
Yes, On Demand platforms offer an “arrive by” time that is guaranteed to the customer upon booking, subject to delay only in the event of unforeseen traffic incidents, weather/road conditions, etc. The customer’s pick-up time is provided as a range, or window, which allows the flexibility to accommodate other trip requests. When a customer books a trip there are also options for the customer to be provided numerous trip options within a specified period, so they can choose whatever time works for them to transfer to other transit services.
Can a mixture of either door-to-door service, curb-to-curb service, or stop-to-stop service occur on a single trip? How will the app know which passenger receives which service? How will the driver know which passenger receives which service? Will comingling the trips impact passenger’s abilities to arrive at a location to connect with other transit services?
The mixture of these trips can occur during the same customer trip and is based on the customer’s profile (i.e. those that have been vetted through the paratransit/access services process are set up with accounts that allow for door-to-door service). The driver is made aware of the different pickup instructions through the instructions provided by the tablet on an ongoing basis. When co-mingling trips in this fashion, the additional time required to load/unload passengers is included in the original ETA provided to the customer so their arrival to connect with commuter services, for example, is assured. Customers, particularly those requesting door-to-door services, may experience longer wait times so that the ETAs already provided to other customers are not violated. However, we anticipate that most of the door-to-door clients will book well in advance per current procedures.
What are the roles of PWT and the Client in the ongoing operations?
PWT is responsible for operating the services and making adjustments to maximize service efficiency, minimize wait times, etc. If the ability of PWT to make adjustments is limited by fixed resources (i.e. vehicles on the road, vehicle hours available, etc.) this is reported to the client so all parties can work on potential solutions. The client helps establish the overall goals of the service prior to launch and monitors service KPIs with PWT to determine if the program continues to meet its objectives or if adjustments should be made.
PWT will continually tweak the system to best match demand (requests for trips) with supply (vehicles on road and in specific service zones) and ensure the client’s objectives or KPIs are met.
How much time does it take to launch an On Demand service?
PWT can start on demand services in as little as 8-10 weeks. A variety of factors and client preferences impact this timeline.