Blackfalds is moving forward with a system that will replace the regional transit system between Red Deer, Lacombe and Blackfalds.
The old public transit system will stop running on Aug. 28 and the new, Blackfalds On-demand Local Transit Service (BOLT) will start on Aug. 31. It will only serve Blackfalds to Red Deer North and will be free for riders with an appointment until the end of September, to ensure the app-driven technology is operating efficiently.
“With the ending of the traditional BOLT routes with the City of Lacombe, Blackfalds had to explore different transit service delivery options for our present and future riders. Council chose to move forward with an app-driven on-demand transit system starting at the end of August,” said Preston Weran, director of infrastructure and property services.
“This two-year pilot program allows us to deliver a more efficient and flexible transit rideshare service model, customized to suit Blackfalds’ businesses, residents, and visitors alike. By working collaboratively, our new transit service can grow gradually as demand increases.”
To access the system, users can either go to the website, download the mobile app or call BOLT directly to request a bus at a specific stop at a specific day and time during service hours.
Blackfalds city council approved Prairie Bus Lines Ltd., to provide transportation services for the new service.
The new BOLT will feature one seven-passenger van, with one wheelchair accessible seat and lift. Prairie Bus Lines will provide the driver, bookings and a second vehicle if needed. They will also serve as the call centre for BOLT.
“Council is excited that a new transit system will be operating in our community under a well-loved name,” said Mayor Poole.
“It will have the convenience of regular opportunities to tie into the Red Deer Transit system and in addition, the on-demand service will provide an opportunity for our users to benefit from public transit within our community as well.”
Tickets for the service must be pre-purchased and drivers will not accept cash fares. A single one-way ticket costs $2.50 with a month pass going for $60.
Buses can be requested up to two weeks in advance.