Does your municipality have adequate public transit? So many people live beyond their town’s fixed-route transit system. Also, traveling across longer distances often requires several transfers. Public transportation has become expensive, inefficient and in some cases, impractical. In smaller towns, town perimeters or rural areas especially, funding a transit system is complicated and generally doesn’t provide adequate service. Residents in those areas often have to leave the community to access amenities, medical treatment, employment, or entertainment. The bottom line is that things need to change.
Microtransit is one of the single-most important transportation shifts in decades. Government, at all levels, recognize this. The Ontario government established a task force in 2020 to look at these challenges. The Ontario government recently announced that they are redirecting two cents per litre of gas tax collected in the previous year to municipalities to fund improvements in their public transportation services. Many municipal governments are also looking hard at how best to modernize their public transportation services. Several forward-thinking communities have employed the Driverseat microtransit options – and there are several to suit an array of needs.
I won’t beat around the bush. Driverseat Inc. is at the forefront of helping municipalities rethink and reconfigure their public transportation around microtransit initiatives. Microtransit is demand-responsive, flexible in routing, scheduling, vehicle configuration, and capacity. What a difference! What a concept! Rather than working around the system, the system can work around the consumer! The municipality ends up with a system that optimizes costs and resources, increases service levels, and responds to changes in the community as it evolves.
Let’s talk flexibility. Driverseat microtransit solutions can be configured in a number of ways. One of them is based on the traditional Fixed Route/Fixed Schedule basis. The difference between traditional service, though, is that vehicles can be right-sized for the route, time of day, and customer needs.
Then there are Fixed Route/Flagged Stop options, where vehicles travel along a defined route on a semi-fixed schedule, allowing for flagged stops that affords riders the ability to access the vehicle at a more convenient location.
Thanks to mobile and advanced transportation application technology, On-Demand Dynamic Routing is now a viable solution for many communities. Using state-of-the-art software, vehicles are routed in real-time, based on ridership demands. Within the routing technology, the vehicle’s route is optimized to minimize passenger wait-times and travel times. These are resources that simply were not available or practical a few years ago. System flexibility is such that pickup locations can be fixed, or semi-fixed, or even door-to-door.
The benefits of a microtransit system are too significant to ignore:
- Cost optimization & value engineering – a flexible, customer-centric system configures and designs the service in a way that optimizes the cost of the service. No one will argue that cost of transit is a significant barrier for many small to medium-sized municipalities, rural communities, and isolated populations. The transportation component of your property taxes is not insignificant.
- Rider experience – no more long wait times, rigid schedules, and limitations on pickup nodes. microtransit solutions improve the experience of the user by eliminating some of these restrictions.
- Flexibility – Service can be changed or modified to adapt and respond to the evolving needs of the community. More importantly, municipalities enjoy the flexibility to do what is needed without concern for significant cost implications or conformity to rigid agreements.
- Integration with other services between municipalities and service providers is simpler and more cohesive
There are fewer dollars in municipal budgets to do more things. Municipalities are faced with the responsibility to provide effective and efficient transportation that best serves the needs of their residents, including the vulnerable sector. A microtransit solution provides the greatest and most immediate opportunity to eliminate waste, improve the experience and enhance the flexibility of the service. The Driverseat brand promise is to “out-care the competition”. The Driverseat microtransit option is a critical element of this platform with public sector partnerships. The Driverseat solution is already having a wonderful impact in several municipalities. The microtransit option in your community will likely benefit yours, too.