On-demand transit for West Niagara set to roll today

NRT OnDemand vans NRT OnDemand vans roll into West Niagara today as the service expands

Niagara Region Transit launched a new on-demand transit service in West Niagara communities today.

The new service, called NRT OnDemand, provides residents with an affordable public transit option in Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Wainfleet, and Pelham.  It is a shared transit solution in the predominantly rural areas of West Niagara, where no public transit service operates currently.

Riders in Grimsby, Lincoln and Pelham can book a shared ride for local trips within their municipality as well as inter-municipal trips. Whereas, riders in Wainfleet and West Lincoln will be able to book a shared ride for inter-municipal trips, but point to point not within their individual municipality.

In Grimsby, Lincoln and Pelham, local trips are available via the service. A rider can book travel starting at an address in their community and disembarking at the second address in their town for $3. Or they can depart from their town and arrive at an address in another Niagara town or city.

The service also provides connections to the transit hubs at the St. Catharines Bus Terminal, Welland Bus Terminal, and Port Colborne City Hall. 

“NRT OnDemand represents an opportunity for technology and public transit to work together to expand access to efficient, convenient, and affordable mobility solutions without the need for a private vehicle,” said Via CEO and co-founder Daniel Ramot. “We are proud to work with Niagara Region Transit to demonstrate how flexible, digital solutions can create and extend public transit infrastructure to support rural communities in a new way.” 

Via is the Niagara Region’s technology partner in the transit roll out.

What the West Niagara mayors say about NRT OnDemand

In an extensive news release, issued by Niagara Region, West Niagara mayors contributed reactions to the project which is a collaboration between Niagara Region and each municipality.

Grimsby mayor Jeff Jordan said: “Providing a public transit solution has been identified as one of Council’s strategic priorities. This transit system provides an accessible, affordable, and flexible rideshare program that provides great connectivity both within our community and to our surrounding municipalities. We know that this public transit solution will increase access and opportunity in the community for many of our residents.”

Lincoln mayor Sandra Easton said of the new service: “This innovative rideshare model will now provide Lincoln’s residents with on-demand transit at a push of a button on the new App, going anywhere they need in Town or around Niagara. This new transit model helps ensure Lincoln’s residents have equal access to transit throughout the entire Town of Lincoln.”

Pelham mayor Marvin Junkin said: “Connecting Pelham residents to other municipalities in West Niagara and throughout the Region in a timely and efficient manner allows for greater access to places of employment, shopping, or the pharmacy. Pelham is excited to partner with the Region and Grimsby and Lincoln on a service that maximizes the Town’s investment in transit and sees the greatest dividends realized by those who use the service.”

Wainfleet Mayor Kevin Gibson said: “We are very pleased to see NRT OnDemand service coming to Wainfleet. Staying connected with larger urban centres can be a real challenge in a rural setting, especially for young people and seniors and having this kind of increased mobility will help keep our rural seniors in their own homes longer. As well, a shared ride model based on passenger demand and a flat fee per trip regardless of distance travelled, will mean increased access, flexibility and mobility for all Wainfleet residents.”

West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma said: “We’re thrilled to have NRT OnDemand coming to our community, providing our residents with a cost-effective way to connect to all of Niagara. The cost per trip is fixed, not based on distance which is beneficial in rural, expansive communities such as ours. With a growing population, this could not have come at a better time.”  

How to book a ride on NRT On Deamnd

To use the NRT OnDemand service, download the iOS or Android app, mobile app. Or call 289-302-2172 for riders without access to a smartphone.

Passengers select a pickup and drop-off location within the service zone and confirm their ride. Once a ride is booked, Via’s advanced technology matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction into one of 10 high-capacity vehicles and directs passengers to a nearby corner, or virtual bus stop.

Niagara Region technology partner for the project is a company called Via. It’s technology routes vehicles in real-time, minimizing detours by using virtual bus stops.

Riders are required to wear masks and will be separated from drivers by a partition. In addition, vehicles will be cleaned thoroughly and frequently, the Region says.

NRT OnDemand service is available Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 10 pm. Both wheelchair-accessible vehicles and vehicles equipped with bicycle racks are available to riders.

The fare for Inter-municipal trips, including connections to St. Catharines, Welland, and Port Colborne is $6. The intra-municipal fares for riders in Grimsby, Lincoln and Pelham is $3. 

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