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Kelowna first in B.C. to test drive new OnDemand transit

Service offers pickup times and locations passengers determine through a smartphone app or phone
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Kelowna’s Crawford neighbourhood is the first in B.C. to use OnDemand transit. (Photo contributed: l-r, Via Transportation Canada Manager Rob Bryans, BC Transit President/CEO Errin Pinkerton, Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas, BC Transit Vice President, Strategy and Public Affairs, Christy Harrold.

Kelowna’s Crawford neighbourhood is the first in B.C. to have OnDemand Transit.

The service offers pickup times and locations passengers determine through a smartphone app or phone. It provides more direct trips, quicker commutes, and shorter wait times.

“This new innovative service, which will improve mobility and sustainability in our community, is the first of its kind in the province, and we are thrilled to launch it here in Kelowna,” explains Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit president and CEO.

Starting Apr. 28, the hybrid approach in the Crawford area will provide a fixed-route service during peak hours and OnDemand during all other times.

“Kelowna’s ridership is at an all-time high,” Pinkerton adds. “We’re hoping to achieve seven million rides in 2024.”

That is a 12 per cent increase over 2023.

“Double-digit growth in ridership is a sign of the success of the Kelowna Regional Transit System,” Pinkerton notes.

Mayor Tom Dyas is pleased Kelowna is the jumping-off point for the service that will eventually be offered throughout the province.

“I’ve seen it in action back in Oshawa. Which quickly resulted in advanced frequency and availability of services in their area.”

Rob Bryans, Canada Country Manager with Via Transportation the TransitTech provider, says the service will revolutionize how transit riders get around.

“Via has delivered this technology and service to about 700 cities, counties, and communities around the world and we’re bringing that global technology to Crawford and Kelowna.”

Fixed-route service in Crawford will be available on Route 15 twice a day Monday through Friday between 8-8:30 a.m. and 3:30-4 p.m.

OnDemand transit will be available Monday through Friday between 7 -8 a.m., 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and 4 -7 p.m.

Weekend and holiday availability is from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

There are no fixed routes or schedules with OnDemand service, as buses are dispatched on a request basis to a designated safe pick-up location near the customer.

Ride requests begin and end within the Crawford area including service to Canyon Falls Middle School and the Mission Recreation Transit Exchange.

BC Transit and the City of Kelowna partnered with TransitTech provider, Via Transportation and Transdev to offer the service.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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