Transit On Demand Service - FAQs

August 26, 2020

Calgary Transit On-Demand Pilot – Coming to Ward 6!

Calgary Transit is exploring a new way to deliver transit service. There are some communities where fixed-route service may not be ideal, either because population density or ridership levels are low, making it expensive and less efficient to provide traditional bus service. On-demand, shared transportation may provide an opportunity to introduce cost-effective and efficient transit service to these communities

Coming this fall, we’re expanding on-demand service into the southwest communities of Aspen Woods, Christie Park, Strathcona Park, Signal Hill, Springbank Hill, and Discovery Ridge. Right now these communities are served by four community shuttles routes: 94, 164, 439, and 454. The four shuttle routes will be removed and replaced by our on-demand service, which will allow customers to book travel as needed, to be picked up and dropped off at any of the existing stops in the community and other major locations (e.g. Westhills, 69 Street Station, grocery stores, large commercial areas).

Over the summer we’ll be finalizing plans and gathering feedback from the community to help us better understand our customers’ transit requirements. In the fall we’ll provide more details about how the service will look.


How it works

  1. Download the free “Calgary Transit On Demand” app from your app store.
  2. Select your service area (West Calgary)
  3. Enter your starting point and destination. Both must be in the On-Demand service area
  4. Select the date and time you want to ride. Trips can be planned for up to two days in advance.
  5. Provide rider information (number of riders, adult/youth, wheelchair, etc.).
  6. Select your payment option.
  7. The app lets you know when to expect your ride and where to wait.
  8. Show your On-Demand operator your proof of fare when you board your vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why was Southwest Calgary chosen for On-Demand service?

Southwest Calgary was chosen primarily on ridership levels. While the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced ridership significantly in all areas of the city, this area had quite low levels even before the pandemic. Calgary Transit found that there are often empty shuttles running throughout the community. As a result, we’re looking into whether using an on-demand model can improve service to customers.

Has On-Demand service been done before?

Yes! The On-Demand pilot project has been in place in the northwest communities of Carrington and Livingston since August 2019.You can learn more about the success of the initial pilot by clicking here.

How long will this pilot project last?

The On-Demand pilot will run for one year, and will then be assessed to see if it should continue. The On-Demand service is intended to make taking transit easier and more convenient for our customers. If it turns out that the service doesn’t work for customers, we’ll either make adjustments to it, or return to a more traditional, fixed-route service.

My child uses transit to get to school. How will they be affected?

Schools that have dedicated Calgary Transit routes are not affected by this pilot. Calgary Transit provides school express service inside and out of the pilot area, and these routes will remain in place.

I am not comfortable using/do not have access to a smartphone. How can I use this service?

We know that not all of our customers have access to a smartphone, and so we will have an option to book a trip by phoning our call centre. Our customer service staff will be able to book the trip and let our customers know where and when to wait for their ride.

Do I have to book two days in advance? What about last-minute travel?

Our On Demand users can either pre-book a trip up two to days in advance, or book one as needed. Wait times will be a bit different depending on which way you choose to book.

Pre-booked trips can be made up to two days in advance, and more than one trip can be booked at a time. For these trips, we’re able to plan them to be closer to your requested time. We’ll be tracking how our customers use the shuttle, and making sure we have vehicles available to meet those needs.

Once a ride is requested, we aim to be there within 15-30 minutes. The 15-30 minute timeline applies to last-minute bookings. So if you’d like to go somewhere in the On-Demand zone, from the time you book to the time your shuttle arrives should be between 15 and 30 minutes. This would be comparable to just walking out to the bus stop right now and waiting for the next bus – depending on what time you go and when the last bus came, you may wait up to half an hour.

Calgary Transit’s website says “If we’re unable to provide a ride within 60 minutes of your requested time, you’ll be notified that we can’t provide a trip at this time.” Does this only apply for last minute bookings, or is there a chance I will be late for work/school/appointments due to no transit?

When you pre-book, you will be given a pick-up time. If a large number of customers pre-book a bus for the exact same time, some may be notified that “there are no rides available” and will be asked to select a different time. Unlike in a fixed route, customers will know ahead of time if the bus is going to be too full, rather than showing up to the stop and finding out. If we routes are popular at certain times, we can quickly adjust the service by adding more buses to meet demands.

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