Medicine Hat Transit Introduces On-Demand Pilot Project to NE/NW
Medicine Hat – Medicine Hat Transit (MHT) is exploring ways to design an optimized public transportation system that is flexible and able to meets the needs of the community at a reduced cost to the taxpayer.
A new on-demand system, MHTnow, will begin operating on Monday, September 28, 2020. The pilot project will be limited in scope, replacing the current weekday evening service in the northeast and northwest areas for the duration of the pilot, which will run until the end of 2020.
“On-demand technology will support us to increase accessibility for riders,” said Mike Spicer, Manager of Transit Services. “Riders will be able book trips in real-time from an increased number of pick up and drop off points, allowing them to better tailor trips to their specific needs.”
The City of Medicine Hat, in partnership with Spare Labs, have developed a free app for smartphones, and will be available to download from the Apple and Google Play store (search for “MHTnow”). Funding for the app was made available by the federal government through Innovative Solutions Canada.
MHTnow will operate like other rideshare technology, allowing riders to request a ride through the mobile app. Available pick up and drop off locations have been predetermined by staff and are as or more conveniently located compared to regular transit bus stop locations.
“These virtual stops are along main routes, secondary streets and intersections that our transit fleet can easily navigate,” said Spicer. “We’ll be able to access new neighbourhoods, such as Parkview and Ranchlands, and gain a better understanding as to what our residents need from their transit system.”
The app also allows riders to see the location of their bus, the estimated time of arrival and receive notifications on their phone before the bus arrives.
Riders without smartphones will also be able to access MHTnow by calling a booking agent ahead of time.
The pilot will provide City staff with important data, including rider analytics and popular locations, that will be used to determine future improvement opportunities with MHT. Riders will have several opportunities to share comments and feedback throughout the pilot.
“Transit services are currently subsidized at a rate of 81 per cent and the need to find more efficient ways of providing this essential service to the community is critical as the City continues to face financial challenges,” said Spicer.
For more information on MHTnow and a list of FAQs, please visit the City website.
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For media inquiries, please contact:
Manager of Transit Services
City of Medicine Hat