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Dec. 4, 2020 | Friday
Local News
Transit riders looking forward to new on-demand bus service
NOTL Transit sign. (Jessica Maxwell)

NOTL resident Mary McGrath is looking forward to Niagara-on-the-Lake's new on-demand transit system scheduled to hit the road in November.

Town council has approved a one-year pilot program for on-demand transit service, replacing the traditional "scheduled" transit model.

“I’m delighted with it, I think it may even be better than what we had before,” McGrath said. “I’m hoping it is, I’m trying to be positive.” 

Residents will be able to book rides for $3 through a mobile application or by dialling in up to 15 minutes before departure. The maximum wait times for rides is one hour, according to the Niagara Region on-demand transit website.  

The program, operated by Via Mobility LLC, will have two vehicles to service residents in urban and rural areas of town – pending regional council amending its contract with the service provider. 

Via has transit operations in over 20 countries and the partnership with the region allows a flat fee for rides unlike other services that charge by the distance travelled. 

Cash payments will not be accepted by drivers, but riders can pay through the mobile application with credit card or pre-paid debit.  

Some patrons who have taken the bus for years are looking forward to having transit reintroduced to regain some independence, but still feel November is a long wait and wonder if the town will arrange something in the meantime.  

“We have to have something between now and November. We can’t keep going on with this,” Catherine Starrs, a resident who has been taking NOTL transit for six years, told the Lake Report.  

Starrs said she has been trying to contact town representatives about the possibility of “a back-up system until the new system comes in.”   

So far there is no sign of any temporary system until the on-demand service is implemented in November.  

“This new program will provide greater flexibility for residents by offering pick-up locations at the nearest intersection to their residence, as well as curbside drop-off,” interim chief administrator Sheldon Randall said in a news release from the town.  

“This service supports the transportation needs of our community and aligns with council’s strategic plan to deliver smart, balanced growth within the community,” he said.  

Those looking for more information on the progress of the new pilot program and information on the town’s current transit system can visit www.notl.com/content/transit

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