The Town of Innisfil will be partnering with Uber (for general rides) and local taxi companies (for accessible rides) to bring a reliable, affordable on-demand transit service to serve all residents of Innisfil. A staff report was approved by Council on March 15, 2017 outlining how this service could work in Innisfil. There was also a presentation by Town Staff and Uber.
The transit service is going to be rolled out in stages and will be evolving and changing over time. The launch and implementation of Stage 1 is planned for May 2017. During Stage 1, we will be closely watching the data to see how our residents are travelling to make sure that we have developed the most effective service, and we will be able to make adjustments to these routes and fares as necessary.
In the news:
- TVO: Taking the Uber Bus
- Innisfil Journal: Innisfil, Uber public transit partnership Canadian first
- Innisfil Journal: Uber offers $100 to registered Innisfil drivers
- Toronto Star: How a small town is using Uber to fill its public transit void
- CTV Toronto
- Global News
- CITYNews Toronto
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Why did we decide to go this route?
Creating Transportation Options is one of the key priorities of the Innisfil Community Strategic Plan. The Town carried out a Transit Feasibility Study that was completed in September of 2015. After examining this study, Council considered the options for fixed-route bus service during the 2016 Budget deliberations ($270,000 annually for one bus and $610,000 for two buses), but it was determined that they would be too costly for the limited level of service that they would provide.
In June of 2016, Town Staff presented a new report to Council that suggested looking into an on-demand transit option. Soon after, a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) was made. From this process, Uber emerged as the only company with an app-based platform (i.e. UberPool) that would facilitate ridesharing and the matching of 2 or more passengers on trips across the entire Town.
We also had a committee of residents that clearly told us they wanted a service that was able to meet their needs. They expressed that they wanted this to be on-demand, and that the service should be able to transport passengers between Innisfil’s great distances. They wanted to make sure the service could meet the needs of youth, seniors, commuters and new residents. And they wanted this to be affordable.
How would I use the service? How much will it cost?
Using the free Uber app, Innisfil residents will be able to book a trip to wherever they need to go, 24/7. There are essentially three different types of trips residents could make:
1) Key Destination Request: When residents book a trip to one of the following destinations, they will pay $3 to $5:
o $3 for any trip to/from Innisfil Recreational Complex/Town Hall area
o $4 for any trip to/from closest GO bus stop along Yonge St
o $5 for any trip to/from Barrie South GO train station
o $5 for any trip to/from Innisfil Heights Employment Area and Highway 400 carpool lot
2) Custom Destination Request: residents can book Uber to travel wherever they wish within Innisfil’s boundaries and will enjoy saving $5 off their fare. The Uber fare estimator on the Uber website will help you determine how much a trip might cost.
3) Accessible Vehicle Request: residents who are required to remain seated in a mobility aid during a trip because of a disability, can contact Barrie-Innisfil taxi (705-721-7777) to request a trip. The price of this trip will be the same as for the general Uber trips.
As an incentive, Uber will provide a credit of $20 (towards their first trip) to each resident that signs up to use the service and enters the promo code - "innisfiltransit".
How do I create an Uber account?
You can create an Uber account either by downloading the Uber app on your smartphone or online through get.uber.com. Creating an Uber account requires a valid email address and phone number. Additional information is available on the Uber website.
What if I don't have a smart phone?
The Uber app is optimized for use on a smartphone. However, if you have a mobile phone capable of receiving text messages, you may create an account and request rides using a computer. You can go to get.uber.com to create your account. Once your account is created, you can request trips through https://m.uber.com. Residents needing assistance in creating accounts are welcome to access computers at the Town Hall or at any of the Town’s Library locations.
What if I don’t have a credit card?
A credit card is the easiest way to book a ride. The Uber app also accepts Credit Debit cards offered by Visa or MasterCard that are available through most major financial institutions, in addition to payment through PayPal.
Can teens use the service?
Yes, with permission from their parents, teens can request trips and parents will automatically get notified with updates along the way. To use this feature, there is a form to fill out on the Uber-Innisfil website as well as additional FAQs about the Teen Account feature.
Is the service fully accessible?
Yes, since not all Uber vehicles are fully equipped to pick up passengers with special needs, we will be partnering with Barrie-Innisfil Taxi to provide fully accessible transportation. Residents who are required to remain seated in a mobility aid during a trip because of a disability, can contact Barrie-Innisfil taxi (705-721-7777) to request a trip. The cost for the accessible trips will be the same as for the general Uber trips.
How much is this costing the Town?
We will be investing about $100,000 to implement Stage 1 of this program, while $125,000 is already allocated for Stage 2.Keep in mind, the Town will not be required to pay the significant upfront capital costs for items such as buses and bus shelters, in addition to their ongoing operational and maintenance costs. Rather, the Town will simply provide funding to subsidize fares. Stage 2 will begin once the first round of funding has been used, something we believe could happen in 6 to 9 months from launch.
How will drivers be recruited? Are they screened? Who will be the drivers?
All Uber drivers must go through a pre-screening process, including a criminal history and motor vehicle record check. Uber drivers typically use their own vehicles, which range from 4-door sedans to 6-person mini vans. Vehicles cannot be more than 10-years old and must show proof of a motor vehicle safety inspection. Each vehicle and driver must hold 2 million dollars in liability insurance. To ensure there are sufficient drivers in Innisfil, Uber will offer a $100 bonus for any Innisfil resident who registers to drive and completes 10 trips in the Town.
How do I sign up to become an Uber driver?
Please visit the Uber-Innisfil website for information.