App-based taxi's 'the way of the future' for Stratford, mayor says

·2 min read

STRATFORD – Town staff is looking into partnering with an on-demand taxi service to fill the gaps in town transit, namely for Ward 3.

"I think that's the way of the future," Mayor Steve Ogden said.

Currently, public transit isn't as accessible for residents living in Ward 3 and parts of Ward 2, partly due to their distance from the town's main bus routes. A transit meeting was scheduled to take place to discuss the possibility of on-demand taxis, infrastructure director Jeremy Crosby said.

"(They're) something where you could call up and then be brought to the nearest transit stop," he said during a Stratford committees meeting on Jan. 27.

Typically, an on-demand service would allow residents to summon a taxi online or by using a phone app. Crosby has been in touch with a few businesses providing the service on P.E.I., and during the meeting, councillors recommended more that may be worth exploring.

T3 Transit's bus routes would remain the primary, more consistent form of public transit. On-demand taxies would allow Stratford to provide cost-effective transit to its underserved regions while also seeing how much demand there is for it, Crosby said.

"It would be a good way to gauge how the ridership would be," he said. "I think if we went with a full-fledged transit service right away, we'd be setting ourselves up for failure."

Ogden believes this style of public transit is going to become more popular as more people start working from home and desire convenience. He noted that there is transit funding left over from the current budget year that will be carried over for the upcoming budget.

Coun. Derek Smith requested if the town move forward with this idea, that the service be implemented with long-term sustainability in mind to ensure the town gathers sufficient ridership data.

"Don't implement it and then in six months cut it off," he said.

Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian