Council considers supplementing transit service with taxi cabs
Airdrie City staff will look into using taxi cabs to provide door-to-transfer point service to communities with poor transit access.
Council directed staff to conduct a study on the feasibility of the potential service, which will include a financial model, a break down of operational requirements, and a look into whether private companies would be interested, Sept. 17.
The move came despite concern about the demand for the service.
At the July 16 council meeting, aldermen directed staff to look into the feasibility of extending bus service to several communities, after learning some Fairways residents were concerned about the lack of transit coverage to their neighbourhood.
Staff reviewed a number of transit service standards and other operational components, including potential route alignment and timing, consulted with the contracted service provider and looked into transit service in similar communities across the country, including the Ontario towns of Milton and Hamilton.
Staff also mailed out 340 surveys to residents within the community and identified several other communities, including Willowbrook, Windsong, Hillcrest, Morningside, Meadowbrook, Ravenswood, Channelside and King’s Heights Industrial, with poor transit service.
“We wanted to get as much feedback as possible from the community,” said Airdrie’s Transit Coordinator Chris MacIsaac.
He added feedback wasn’t great with 43 households responding.
Of those respondents, 11 people said they might use the transit service in the Fairways.
“If you only have 11 people (interested in the service)… would it be worthwhile to put your time into the report?” asked Alderman Kelly Hegg of MacIsaac.
From its research, staff learned other municipal jurisdictions use taxis to supplement transit in some communities to cover areas where fixed-route service may not be viable such as in new communities and rural areas.
The service includes a transfer from a taxi-cab to a local transit bus at designated locations at specific times.
Alderman Glenda Alexander asked if other communities would want the same should the proposed taxi-cab supplement service go through.
MacIsaac said if approved, staff would implement a phased approach to other communities.
Staff will complete the report and bring the matter to council in 2013.