Prior to 2018, the city of Belleville in Ontario, Canada, operated nine fixed bus routes that serviced the city's 52 km2 transit area. With 16 transit buses to service a population of roughly 51,000, fixed routing made sense for the high volume of daytime commuters. However, the city had trouble rationalizing full-service fixed routes during off-peak (night) operation, as empty buses unnecessarily navigated throughout the service area to shuttle a mere 35 to 40 riders per night. These inefficiencies led to reduced customer service in the form of extended travel and wait times, as well as operational pitfalls that included wasted fuel and unnecessary vehicle wear and tear. Upon being approached by the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), Belleville Transit chose to pilot and ultimately launch an on-demand transit (ODT) and route optimization feature that sought to improve operational efficiency.
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