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On-demand transit pilot rolling out in Blackburn Hamlet this weekend

A Para Transpo vehicicle in Ottawa in August 2023. OC Transpo says riders in Blackburn Hamlet can book same-day or next-day trips starting Sunday, Feb. 11. (Brian Morris/CBC - image credit)
A Para Transpo vehicicle in Ottawa in August 2023. OC Transpo says riders in Blackburn Hamlet can book same-day or next-day trips starting Sunday, Feb. 11. (Brian Morris/CBC - image credit)

OC Tranpo says its new on-demand transit pilot project launch in Blackburn Hamlet this Sunday.

According to a memo sent Monday to councillors by general manager Renee Amilcar, on-demand buses will shuttle customers in the east-end community to and from Blair Station and Gloucester Centre.

The memo also said the pilot will only run on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and "on select holidays."

Route 28 will continue to run on weekdays, Saturdays and on Feb. 11, the first Sunday of the pilot project.

During the pilot, customers can book same-day and next-day trips between select bus stops in Blackburn Hamlet, either on the on-demand transit rider app or by calling OC Transpo.

"The potential benefit of on-demand transit service can include shorter wait and travel times, shorter walking distances, increased travel options for customers and lower emissions," the memo said.

This map shows the area that would be serviced by the on-demand transit pilot project OC Transpo says will roll out this Sunday. (City of Ottawa)

Back in September 2023, OC Transpo announced Blackburn Hamlet would be the first community to try on-demand transit.

At the time, the city said the project will use spare Para Transpo minibuses and won't interfere with Para Transpo's service delivery.

In a report submitted to the city's transit commission in September, staff said the city owns 80 minibuses that provide Para Transpo service. Of those, 65 operate daily from Monday to Friday, and 44 operate on weekends.

"As a result, the implementation of the on-demand demonstration pilot project will not have any negative effect on Para Transpo service," the report said.

The new memo to councillors said the pilot will be extended "in the future" to include testing on both Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, results and future plans will be provided later to the Transit Commission.