Canadian city of Winnipeg to pilot on-demand transit service


In the Canadian city of Winnipeg, the local transit authority has announced the launch of an on-request transit service pilot project starting August 12, 2021. The service aims to modernize transit service in Winnipeg, by enabling passengers to book rides with the easy-to-use Winnipeg Transit On-Request mobile app. The on-request transit service uses innovative trip planning software and GPS technology to plan bus routes in real time and respond immediately to passengers’ trip requests.

During the pilot project, the on-request transit service will be available for passengers in three zones, which are currently serviced using ‘dial-a-ride-transit’ (DART). Passengers will be able to book trips using the Winnipeg Transit On-Request app. Passengers will also be able to book rides using a web browser to access the Winnipeg Transit On-Request booking site, or by calling 311. Bookings are required before using the service to ensure there is enough room for everyone.

The innovative on-request software optimizes the bus route in real time and provides step-by-step directions to the bus operator via a GPS device that will be mounted in front of them. Passengers who use the app to book their trips will be able to see the bus moving in real time.

On-request (or on-demand) services have already been piloted or deployed in other Canadian cities including: Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Sault Ste. Marie, and Stratford. The cost of the pilot project is CA$140,000 (US$111,000), which was funded by a technology grant from the City’s Innovation & Technology Department.

The Winnipeg Transit on-Request transit service is proposed in the Winnipeg Transit Master Plan as an opportunity to enhance services for transit riders. The service is powered by technology from Via and uses a highly efficient algorithm to route and plan trips in real time, creating a seamless, convenient, and flexible transit offering for passengers.

“I’m pleased to see the on-request transit service pilot project being implemented so quickly after the 2021 Balanced Budget Update,” sats Mayor Brian Bowman. “Across our country, all transit services grapple with how to supply the most accurate service to meet the unpredictable changes in demand. This pilot project will use innovative software to address those unpredictable changes in demand in a way that has seen success in cities across Canada.”

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About Author


Lauren is a regular contributor to Traffic Technology International (TTi) and a freelance technical journalist. Over the past 15 years, she has worked on a wide variety of B2B publications and websites, including a stint as deputy editor of Traffic Technology International from 2014-2016. She has a degree in English from the University of Exeter. Lauren is mum to two busy little girls. She is always in demand!