Saint John Transits electric on-demand bus pilot has been a huge win for the community and the city.
Per CBC, the pilot saw the city replace one of their old 40-foot diesel buses with a 20-foot electric bus. Instead of a traditional circle route, the on-demand service allows riders to arrange a ride in advance, which saves them time and the city money as the bus does not need to circulate. Riders can use an app or call a human dispatcher to arrange the ride.
The pilot has been so successful that the city is launching a second pilot area in Millidgeville. Riders can meet the bus at any established stop and can get off at another stop or a hub area where they can meet a traditional bus route to get to downtown Saint John.
The on-demand buses are cheaper for the city and help riders save time. Per senior manager of transit and fleet at the city of Saint John, Kevin Loughery:
I think people like the ability to schedule their rides … the frequency is better for them. So instead of having to wait that hour to get that bus, they can book the bus within a time frame, and it allows them to get the service when they want the service.
With ridership loving it and early indications that the on-demand service is working, we could see more and more transit companies going with this model for rural areas soon enough.