Durham Region Transit (DRT)—which includes the communities east of Toronto in Ontario like Ajax, Oshawa and Pickering—has partnered with Spare to launch an extensive on-demand micro-transit service.
The service promises to increase transit access and improve travel times for more than 600,000 residents.
Spare, a Canadian-based on-demand transit software provider, lets transit riders request public transportation from their smartphone with small-scale vehicles such as minibuses, shuttles, and cars.
DRT’s micro-transit project encompasses over 30 on-demand transit zones spread over 2,500 sq km, including urban and more rural areas. When residents and commuters in these zones require transit, they simply need to open the app and input their desired pick-up location/destination. Travel can be reserved anywhere from days to 15 minutes before desired pick-up time.
This launch marks the first time Spare is working with Transit app. The multimodal app allows users to plan their transit trips and in some cases pay for them all in-app. For instance, a DRT passenger can use Transit to evaluate what their trip might look like if they start with micro-transit, connect to a GO Train commuter line, and take a bus to get to their final destination in the city.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, DRT was looking to replace some of its fixed-route bus lines with micro-transit. With the decline in transit ridership and subsequently revenue due to the pandemic, it fast-tracked the process, opting to focus on core fixed-route lines and micro-transit to feed them.