Thousands of PWT customers across Canada rely on the mobility solutions provided by our lines of business. During the second year of the pandemic, our services ensured that people had access to medical services, supplies, and other essential needs. We transported many frontline workers to and from their jobs, including members of the general public, construction workers, and essential energy and healthcare sector workers. In addition to this, we saw the revival of the travel and tourism industry in many provinces and the return to a modified state of normal in regards to leisure travel.

Today we are looking back through 2021 with a critical eye, analyzing our service performance, specifically, that of our On-Demand operations. This analysis provides key information about how our customers used our services in 2021 and highlight how we adapted and exceeded goals, despite challenges presented by everchanging restrictions. Throughout the year we adjusted services in response to COVID-related changes in use patterns, by closely following our services metrics. We have celebrated some incredible achievements and learned from the challenges we faced along the way.


Top 6 PWT On-Demand Highlights For 2021:

1: Edmonton On Demand Transit: we launched the largest on demand transit system in Canada on April 25th, 2021:

This system was designed as a neighbourhood-to-hub model that helps connect newly developed neighbourhoods, areas of lower density or lower historic transit ridership, and areas otherwise difficult to serve using larger, fixed-route vehicles, to the broader City of Edmonton transit system (LRT and Bus). The success of this complex service is particularly impressive as its launch was organized and coordinated entirely during a global pandemic, with almost no in-person meeting.  Ridership continues to grow dramatically as COVID restrictions ease and workplaces and schools return to normal.

This launch was a great display of resourcefulness and dedication, and another fine example of how PWT can deploy innovative mobility solutions in even the most unprecedented times.

Edmonton On Demand - 2021 Statistics

Service is supported by 57 brand new buses with either 11 or 14 passenger configuration, plus wheelchair accessibility


Ridership increased 6.6% in November vs. October 2021


Daily ridership is up over 94% from start of project to present

Average customer satisfaction with service rate is 4.7/5.0

Average time-in-vehicle is 12 minutes

Pickup ETAs average less than 10 minutes

2: Spruce Grove Transit - we converted a small transit system in Spruce Grove, Alberta from fixed-route to on demand to create better community access and more attractive trip alternatives:

This transit system conversion was launched on May 3, 2021 as a weekday-only service, operating primarily during the off-peak periods. The on demand service was designed to replace local Route 568 and offers service within the entire municipal boundary of Spruce Grove. Additionally, all local trips can be booked to connect with the commuter transit system to Edmonton – a convenient integration for those who are not within walking distance of a commuter bus stop.  

This freshly implemented transit service has resulted in substantially reduced travel times, increased connectivity, and flexibility for users throughout Spruce Grove – all of this while leaving a reduced carbon footprint.

Spruce Grove - 2021 Statistics

Pickup ETAs average less than 10 minutes


November completed rides were 15.8% higher than October


Completed rides is up over 234% from start of project to present

3: Leduc Transit System: we converted a portion of the Leduc Transit System from fixed-route to on demand on August 16th, 2021:

The reformed Leduc Transit on-demand service offers trips within the City of Leduc and Nisku Business Park and operates during the same time periods as the existing fixed routes: weekday mornings and afternoon peak periods. The service replaced local Routes 2, 3, 4 and 5. Utilizing existing bus stops and new virtual stops, the service offers a variety of benefits to local riders and those coming into the area from around the region. Trips connect to the existing fixed-commuter routes that used to get to Edmonton, the Airport, and the Amazon Facility. 

Thanks to the highly customizable nature of the on-demand service model, we have made several adjustments in the first few months of operation to the vehicle count by the time of day to best match demand. These adjustments were made based on actual demand vs. pre-launch estimates. All of this was done in the background without requiring any customer interruptions, reprinting of scheduling materials, changing the information on websites etc. Going forward, we will continue to use service metrics to inform further adjustments and possible expansion of this transit conversion.

Leduc Transit - 2021 Statistics

Passengers per vehicle Hour (PvH) approaching 4.0 and rising steadily from original base of approx. 2.0 at start of service


November completed rides were 36.0% higher than October 2021


Daily ridership is up over 52% from start of project to present

Average customer satisfaction with service rate is 4.8/5.0

Shared rides equaled 49% in November

Average trip duration is less than 10 minutes

4: Cochrane On-Demand Local Transit (COLT): we improved COLT service and planned the system’s expansion for a regionally integrated model:

Launched in late 2019, COLT  is an on-demand transit system that provides the local residents of Cochrane with an affordable and accessible transit option. Today, the service utilizes up to 3 vehicles during peak hours, and their Saturday service was been recently expanded by 30 minutes in November 2021. A new feature that was implemented in 2021 was Side-Road optimization. It allows the system to utilize alternative virtual stops to favour routing efficiency by avoiding navigation constraints such as rerouting due to vehicle/stop heading.

Looking to the future, ongoing planning and modelling of this integrated regional service will allow the OnDemand system users to seamlessly connect via a hub to Calgary’s commuter service. ETA launch 1st quarter of 2022.

COLT - 2021 Statistics


On-time performance has been maintained at 92%

COLT has completed over 72,500 passenger rides to date


Despite COVID-19 restriction, the system has managed to achieve 70% shared ridership

Average customer satisfaction with service rate is 4.8/5.0

Customer retention reaches new heights with over 2,000 active users coming back to the system every month

5: Okotoks On-Demand: our Okotoks operation earned the prestigious Minister’s Award for Excellence in Service Delivery & Innovation:

In September 2021, the Okotoks On Demand service was recognized with the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Service Delivery & Innovation. Receiving this award reinforces and acknowledges the hard work and commitment that went into creating an innovative initiative, the first curb-to-curb on-demand shared public transit service of its kind in Canada.

This recognition of operational excellence was a direct result of system optimization as a constant practice. The services’ backend parameters are checked regularly to maximize service availability and minimize failed searches. This year, a wide array of ride credit bulk options were implemented via the App, and users can now buy at a discounted rate up to 100 ride credits at a time. Wheelchair and other ambulatory aids load times have been revised to ensure optimal service.

Since the inception of this service in 2019, all goals created to measure up the system have been surpassed consistently and by a large margin, and have led to contract expansion.

Okotoks On Demand - 2021 Statistics

Completed over 70,000 passenger rides to date


On-time performance has been maintained at 92%

PvH has averaged around 3.4 for this year, with December peaking at 4.4

Average customer satisfaction with service rate is 4.8/5.0

Average trip ride was 9 minutes

Nearly 2,500 active users every month, growing at a steady rate of 60 new users monthly

6: Diversified On Demand (DOT): our On Demand service in Fort McMurray, AB, celebrates a successful year. This is the first application of demand responsive transportation at an industrial worksite in Canada:

Launched in September of 2020, the Diversified On Demand service was created as a response to finding a cost-effective and comfortable solution to transport employees from Fort McMurray to their respective worksites. Today, DOT transports passengers from Saparee Creek, Fort McMurray & Fort McKay First Nations to worksites at Mildred Lake 41A and Aurora.

Our DOT Service runs seven days a week, 365 days a year, with pick-ups starting between the hours of 4:30-4:45 AM/PM returning from the site at 06:00/18:00. We started with 6 Vans and have since increased to 13 (4 Aurora, 9  Mildred Lake 41A Site)

As you can see from below, the success of the DOT Program in Fort McMurray has been tremendous in the last year.

DOT - 2021 Statistics

In 2021, we transported 57,967 Passengers between the Aurora and Mildred Lake sites


Our on-time performance holds at 99% on average, between the two sites

Average customer satisfaction with service rate is 4.0/5.0

Average passenger ride time is 42.5min (Mildred)

Average passenger ride time is 65.45min (Aurora)

2021 Challenges & Reflections:

In 2021, we continued to launch and innovate our services while dealing with the ever-changing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For our new service launches, on-site support for pre-launch activities was significantly limited, leaving us to coordinate pre-launch testing and service trials with just virtual support and involvement from technology vendors. Below is a high-level review of some of the obstacles we overcame in 2021.

Equipment Delays: 

Like many others, we faced challenges with vehicle acquisition throughout the year. Ordering vehicles during a pandemic caused us to deal with unanticipated delays and forced us to make creative, quick decisions to keep all of our launch and expansion projects on schedule.

Call Centre Optimization: 

As our operations expanded this year, we conducted an operational analysis of our call centre and chose to centralize the operation. This streamlined the service overall and struck an optimal balance of customer service and cost-effectiveness for clients. 

Pooling resources to book trips for several different systems meant that Call Center staff and hours would be expanded to accommodate the new services. Increased training was necessary to ensure staff were familiar with new software, the new on-demand operations processes, and our other legacy services. These service optimizations resulted in the Call Center providing phone assistance for over 35,000 callers and resolved over 4,000 support tickets combined in 2021.

Network Outages & User Cancellations:  

Determined that network outages can cause big issues as driver’s tablets are dependent on reliable LTE connection. A backup system has been developed and is in version 1 – recovery mode, that warns drivers of network connection errors and presents the option of a static itinerary back up, so booked rides can still be serviced.

In some systems, we noted a high number of user cancellations, resulting in wasted driver time. To combat this, we implemented systems to help curb these late cancellations. Users with high numbers of late-cancellations or no-shows are now automatically flagged by the system for seven days and limited to a max of 2 open bookings at any given time. So far we have seen a decrease in late cancellations and no-shows.

Industry-Wide Driver Shortages: 

Driver shortages have been an ongoing challenge for the transportation industry over the past two years, and intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, our operations have been very lucky not to be impacted in a significant way, but recruitment is still a barrier we have faced. In response to unanticipated driver shortages, we have adjusted our service parameters to accommodate coverages, and booking availability is modified in advance or on the spot to ensure ride requests do not exceed service capacity.

Our On Demand operations found phenomenal success in 2021 — a year that was unlike any other in PWT’s history. Transportation agencies worldwide were faced with new challenges daily as we all waded through the unforgiving waves of a public health crisis. Nonetheless, we saw tremendous optimization, growth, and expansion in our existing operations, providing integral connectivity for customers both loyal and new customers. We found opportunities to launch and convert new on-demand services, uncovering unconventional and innovative solutions to their mobility needs. These ventures will lay the groundwork for future transit expansion and community connectivity. 
Looking forward to 2022, we remain committed to finding innovative ways to get our customers across the country to their destinations and Safely Home, each day. Our success this year, and every year, is a direct result of our people. Our passionate, dedicated, and committed employees are the driving force that will propel us through the coming year and beyond.