View Full Version : Councillor asks about taxis to run bus routes

01-03-2009, 08:45 PM
Councillor asks about taxis to run bus routes

5:40 am
630 CHED

Councillor Karen Leibovici thinks she's got an idea that will boost transit ridership, but with out the multi million dollar cost of adding big buses.

Instead of a bus--at a cost of three quarters of a million dollars-- running a route in a neighborhood, Councillor Leibovici is wondering about the effectiveness of a small vehicle.

"There's lots of areas in the city where we will either not be able to provide bus service due to a lack of ridership but there's still a demand." says Leibovici, "I don't think its cost effective to put another bus on the road, but we do have taxis that are available, we do have taxis that I don't think are used to their full potential but the needs of those who want to use something other than their own car are met."

Leibovici when she was on vacation in Mexico saw how it worked. "We thought there was going to be a bus, but there was a van. There was a prescribed payment very similar to what a bus fare would be."

Leibovici says there are examples the city can draw from in suburban Vancouver Toronto and Montreal.


01-03-2009, 09:04 PM

01-03-2009, 09:41 PM
Was this really not considered before now? Really, that's embarrassing.

Similar idea... Longer video, but is explained fairly quickly at introduction. Demand responsive transit...

Essentially, using technology to instantly respond to transit demand. Routes are not fixed and schedules are flexible to allow for vehicle coordination. This would likely work in concert with existing bussing routes and schedules.

02-03-2009, 12:23 AM
Alternatives like these need to be explored in our suburb, single-family home city. We don't have the density to have effective mass transit in most areas of the city.

02-03-2009, 08:41 AM

02-03-2009, 09:09 AM
no, this is Share-Taxi or similar. PRT runs on its own separated infrastructure... and is vastly more expensive then this.

This is basically dial-a-bus meets taxi.

02-03-2009, 09:15 AM
^No need for fixed guideways or similar infrastructure - just use a type of shared taxi, as Councillor Karen Leibovici seems to realize. I don't know if this would work, but it might be interesting to get people transported on short trips to LRT stations or similar.

02-03-2009, 10:34 AM
Now on quiet routes can there not be smaller busses. Instead of a full sized bus how bout buses like the Ford ELF.

02-03-2009, 02:06 PM
Interesting idea...however, considering we dont seem to have enough taxis on the road for people actually wanting to use taxi service, I have no idea how they figure we have enough to warrant them being used as transit...

02-03-2009, 03:11 PM

At the tail end of that article there is a section on Paratransit, which to me sounds much more interesting.


Do it large scale with state of the art two way communication between the units and the central office. Units report current location, traffic conditions, etc. back to the main system in realtime, which in turn uses that data to do on the fly scheduling and route generation, which is then sent back to each unit after every delivery/pickup (drivers don't need to know anything more than what their next destination is). Units are assigned to zones, and work exclusively within that zone (although, an overlap buffer could be built in to allow units from less congested areas to help out along the fringes of busy areas). Reassignment of units from a 'dead' zone to a busy zone could be automated. Two rates would exist: Reduced rate for travel only within the zone (no transfer) and standard rate for travel outside of the zone (transfers included). Travel outside of the zone requires being dropped off at a central hub from which mainline large buses (or LRT) run.

Just some free-association thoughts. In general, I like the idea. It could develop into a very flexible system in time. I can't see it replacing true taxi service (taxi's will still take you and your luggage directly to your desired location with added perks), and guidelines would have to be established to reflect that (limiting of baggage, how long does a driver wait at a pickup point before moving on, etc.).

02-03-2009, 03:24 PM
ETS does use smaller buses on a lot of the evening residential routes. The taxi idea should be explored as we do need to think "outside the box" to provide better service with limited budgets.

02-03-2009, 08:16 PM
Check this link for an active taxi-bus


In the 1980s, Victoria Regional Transit used to contract out some rural routes to a local taxi company. They no longer do this, instead using smaller vehicles on less used routes.

Sonic Death Monkey
02-03-2009, 08:19 PM
By "taxi" do they mean Yellow Cab and that lot? The taxi service in this city is farcical enough as it is, I wouldn't trust them with providing efficient service for ETS.

If this is referring to ETS using their own fleet of smaller vehicles then yes, look into it.

02-03-2009, 09:13 PM
I would think the one of the main costs of transit would be the pay + benefits for all the unionized employees? If so, not sure how switching to smaller vehicles makes sense since you still need a driver. Diesels are pretty efficient. To be honest, I wonder if you'd get much in terms of fuel savings replacing a bus with another vehicle unless it was also diesel powered.

02-03-2009, 09:15 PM
Many cities and towns have privatized their public transport systems. I am not saying we should, but as an example, we could have private bus companies taking people to the airport. After all, the St. Albert buses are run by Diversified Transportation Ltd. and that seems to work very well.

03-03-2009, 11:30 AM
I've always wondered why they don't switch to the smaller buses during night time schedule on non-busy routes (ie neighborhood routes). That would be better than using Taxi's.

Now reading the thread, EdmCowboy and doug have asked and answered my question; but I still have this feeling that larger buses are used for at least some, if not most of the night-quieter routes.

Edmonton PRT
04-03-2009, 12:17 AM
The size of the bus has little to do with operating costs. 70% to 80% of operating costs are labour related. Some buses, especially the Ford ELF's are extremely unreliable and some older ones in the ETS fleet cost up to $50,000 a year in maintenance per bus to keep them on the road.

04-03-2009, 12:58 AM
Why not expand the community network? Seems like a better idea.
.....Oh and also try running them more than once every hour.

North Guy66
04-03-2009, 09:26 AM
For night service, ETS should adapt the Dial-a-bus system that Strathcona County uses.

04-03-2009, 09:48 AM
So how does that dial-a-bus service work anyway? You just call and it comes to a designated stop?

04-03-2009, 09:50 AM
yes, I remember in the early 90's they tried it. I don't know what went wrong with it.

04-03-2009, 10:10 AM
St. Albert Transit operates Dial-A-Bus (I think they still do, but it's been a while since I lived there). It's a slow, meandering service, but it's better than no service at all.

ETS operates Dial-A-Bus during off-peak times in the NW industrial areas, too, I believe.

North Guy66
04-03-2009, 10:40 AM
So how does that dial-a-bus service work anyway? You just call and it comes to a designated stop?

At the main transit centres you call from a courtesy phone and a mini-bus will arrive. It won't take you to your doorstep but it would go to bus stops that normally run during the day. As RTA mentioned, it is usually used for industrial areas.