Pantonium is announcing a joint project to improve access to public transit buses in the town of Belleville using mobile applications and new scheduling software. This is a new approach to an old challenge for public transit in low density public transit areas, attempting to improve upon the “dial-a-bus” model without replacing or undercutting the existing transit infrastructure.
The goal of the project is to allow Belleville Transit riders to order bus trips via a free app to be picked up at any bus stop and be dropped of at any bus stop in the town. Removing the need for some fixed routes with low ridership and give on-demand service to riders. Pantonium has been providing this type of optimized, on-demand scheduling to public and private passenger transportation companies around the world.
The project is already in the development stage, a pilot with three buses covering a late night route will begin in the last quarter of 2018.
Successful implementation will reduce the time required for riders to contact transit to schedule trips. Current trip requests need 12 hours advance notice. During the pilot project these times will be reduced to 30 minutes. The project will also save on the costs of operating buses by reducing the number of empty buses driving on fixed routes. Pantonium sees this being applied across the world in rural, suburban, low density areas, night bus services, and first/last mile challenges around transit hubs.
Unlike other on-demand transit projects in Ontario, the Pantonium project will involve shared ride route optimization and utilize existing transit infrastructure and vehicles, thus it will be relevant for transit agencies that are looking for ways to economize their existing fleets while providing a new service for ridership.
The project is supported by investments from Belleville City Council, the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund and the Ontario Centers of Excellence, i3 Customer Demonstration Program. It will conclude in January 2019 with a summary report on the impacts and further potential of new technology enabling on-demand transit.
Photo Credit: J.Davidson, Belleville Bay Bridge Looking North