NRT and Via launch first on-demand public transit system in Niagara Region

Posted by Niagara Region on Thursday, August 13th, 2020


Niagara Region Transit and Via, the leader in public mobility solutions, will launch a new on-demand transit service in West Niagara on August 17. “NRT OnDemand” will provide residents with an affordable, efficient and convenient public transit option in Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Wainfleet and Pelham.

NRT OnDemand is a dynamic shared transit solution for residents in the predominantly rural areas of West Niagara. NRT OnDemand will be the first form of public transit in much of the region, and will provide connections to the transit hubs at the St. Catharines Bus Terminal, Welland Bus Terminal, and Port Colborne City Hall.

Riders in Grimsby, Lincoln and Pelham, will be able to book a shared ride for local trips within their municipality as well as inter-municipal trips. Riders in Wainfleet and West Lincoln, will be able to book a shared ride for inter-municipal trips, but not within their individual municipality. Connections to-or-from nearby transit hubs will be available to facilitate access to fixed line transit options with the touch of a button.

NRT OnDemand creates a seamless transit solution for West Niagara and firmly establishes an exceptional partnership between the Region and local municipalities to deliver West Niagara residents with innovative and cost-effective transit solutions that meets their individual needs, replacing local fixed-route service with a dynamic on-demand solution.

“NRT OnDemand represents an opportunity for technology and public transit to work together to expand access to efficient, convenient and affordable mobility solutions without the need for a private vehicle,” said Via CEO and co-founder Daniel Ramot. “We are proud to work with Niagara Region Transit to demonstrate how flexible, digital solutions can create and extend public transit infrastructure to support rural communities in a new way.”

Using the NRT OnDemand mobile app, or by calling 289-302-2172 for riders without access to a smartphone, passengers will select a pickup and drop-off location within the service zone and confirm their ride. Once a ride is booked, Via’s advanced technology matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction into one of 10 high-capacity vehicles, and directs passengers to a nearby corner, or “virtual bus stop”. Via’s technology routes vehicles in real-time, minimizing detours by using virtual bus stops to reduce congestion and emissions, while providing a highly-efficient rider experience.

In line with Public Health guidelines at launch, riders are required to wear masks, and will be separated from drivers with a partition. In addition, the vehicles will be cleaned thoroughly and frequently.

“With the launch of NRT OnDemand, all of Niagara’s municipalities will now be connected through public transit. This dynamic, new service will allow all residents of West Niagara to have the freedom to go where they want, when they want using transit. This is a great example of what can be accomplished when we work together with our local partners. The seamless connectivity provided by NRT OnDemand certainly demonstrates the potential for future aligned, unified transit solutions for all of Niagara," says Regional Chair Jim Bradley.

NRT OnDemand service is available Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will include both wheelchair-accessible vehicles and vehicles equipped with bicycle racks. The fare for Inter-municipal trips, including connections to St. Catharines, Welland, and Port Colborne is $6. The intra-municipal fares for riders in Grimsby, Lincoln and Pelham is $3.

The service is Via’s second in Canada, including its on-demand service in Sault Ste. Marie. Via has been tapped by cities and transportation operators around the world to help re-engineer public transit from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic network. Via now has more than 100 launched partnerships in more than 20 countries.

Visit us online for more information about NRT OnDemand.

About Niagara Region Transit:
Niagara Region operates Niagara Region Transit in partnership with Niagara Falls, St. Catharines Transit Commission and Welland. It provides inter-municipal conventional fixed route service to the communities of Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, Port Colborne, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland. Riders can travel between these communities on Niagara Region Transit for work, school, shopping, recreation and more. The introduction NRT OnDemand is expanding the service to Grimsby, Lincoln, Pelham, Wainfleet and West Lincoln creating a network of access to transit for everyone in Niagara.

About Via:
Via is re-engineering public transit, from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand network. Via’s mobile app connects multiple passengers who are headed the same way, allowing riders to seamlessly share a premium vehicle. First launched in New York City in September 2013, the Via platform operates in the United States and in Europe through its joint venture with Mercedes-Benz Vans, ViaVan. Via’s technology is also deployed worldwide through dozens of partner projects with public transportation agencies, private transit operators, taxi fleets, private companies, and universities, seamlessly integrating with public transit infrastructure to power cutting-edge on-demand mobility. For more information, visit Via's website.

"We are very excited to see NRT OnDemand coming to Grimsby! Providing a public transit solution has been identified as one of Council’s strategic priorities. This transit system provides an accessible, affordable, and flexible ride share program that provides great connectivity both within our community, and to our surrounding municipalities. We know that this public transit solution will increase access and opportunity in the community for many of our residents."
~ Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan

"Lincoln is excited to be a part of the new Niagara Region Transit on demand system. This innovative rideshare model will now provide Lincoln’s residents with on demand transit at a push of a button on the new App, going anywhere they need in Town or around Niagara. This new transit model helps ensure Lincoln’s residents have equal access to transit throughout the entire Town of Lincoln."
~ Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton

"Connecting Pelham residents to other municipalities in West Niagara and throughout the Region in a timely and efficient manner allows for greater access to places of employment, shopping, or the pharmacy. Pelham is excited to partner with the Region and Grimsby and Lincoln on a service that maximizes the Town's investment in transit and sees the greatest dividends realized by those who use the service."
~ Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin

"We are very pleased to see NRT OnDemand service coming to Wainfleet. Staying connected with larger urban centres can be a real challenge in a rural setting, especially for young people and seniors and having this kind of increased mobility will help keep our rural seniors in their own homes longer. As well, a shared ride model based on passenger demand and a flat fee per trip regardless of distance travelled, will mean increased access, flexibility and mobility for all Wainfleet residents."
~ Wainfleet Mayor Kevin Gibson

"We're thrilled to have NRT OnDemand coming to our community, providing our residents with a cost-effective way to connect to all of Niagara. The cost per trip is fixed, not based on distance which is beneficial in rural, expansive communities such as ours. With a growing population, this could not have come at a better time."
~ West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma


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