TransLink will be launching an on-demand bus service on Bowen Island.
Passengers will be able to book a ride on two new buses using the TapRide mobile app, online or via a soon-to-be-established phone line. They can can set their own pick-up and drop-off times, view trip times and arrival estimates, and track the vehicles in real time.
Speaking from Bowen’s Snug Cove on Monday, CEO Kevin Desmond said the buses will not supplant existing bus routes, but will serve as a pilot project and model for other communities within TransLink’s region.
“Existing routes could benefit from a mixture of fixed stops with on-demand transit zones, and dedicated on-demand buses could be used to transport workers to large out of city corporate campuses,” Desmond said.
“The reality is our fixed route Coat Mountain Bus provided service can’t be everywhere and all places.”
Bowen Island Mayor Gary Ander said the pilot would benefit both locals and tourists.
“It will service our more sparsely populated neighbourhoods and create economic social benefits for all island residents,” Ander said. “Our tourists will now be able to enjoy parts of the island that were not previously available to them.”
The project is costing TransLink $200,000 and has already been funded through the regional mayors’ 10-year plan to improve transit and transportation.
The pilot will run from July 15 to Sept. 15 with two TransLink shuttle buses. It will operate from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays (fixed pick up at Snug Cove ferry terminal) and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends (with floating pick up and drop off).