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The buses, which will be provided by PWT, will come in three types, including a 22-foot 10-seater, a 24-foot 14-seater and one specially configured for seniors with a low floor.
Passengers won’t have to pay fare while using the on-demand service during the two-year pilot but they will have to pay once they transfer over to the city’s regular network.
Via CEO and co-founder Daniel Ramot said in the news release his company’s technology will provide better flexibility for those looking to move around.
“We are immensely proud to partner with Pacific Western and the City of Edmonton to debut Canada’s largest on-demand public transportation network, connecting more residents to transit than ever before,” Ramot said in the release. “The launch of Edmonton’s new on-demand service represents a milestone in Canada and an opportunity for innovation-forward cities and transit agencies to follow.”
Rowan Anderson, a communications advisor with the City of Edmonton, said in an email the contract with PWT is worth approximately $20 million over the two years. He said the original start date was supposed to be this fall but was moved because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anderson said the success of the pilot will be based on a number of metrics including service performances like customer satisfaction, safety, security and wait times. He said the performance measures will be reported to city council and the public on a regular basis.
ETS began looking at on-demand transit back in 2018 as part of the city’s Bus Network Redesign.
Calgary’s PWT is described as the largest privately-owned people transportation in Canada, while Via is a technology company based out of New York City.
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