Cochrane prepares for transit launch

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The era of public transit in Cochrane is imminent, with COLT (Cochrane On-Demand Local Transit) expected to begin ferrying Cochranites throughout town on October 7.

The service will begin at 10 a.m. on the launch day. Regular service hours (6 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays) begin the following day.

The service is the first fully ‘on-demand’ system in Canada.

Stops have been built throughout the townsite, no greater than a 400 metre distance from any given location. Riders will use the RideCOLT app to indicate between which stops they wish to travel, and a computer algorithm will optimize flexible bus routes factoring ride requests from other users as well as a yet-to-be-finalized maximum duration.

The RideCOLT app ios now available to download and test out on the major app stores. The town recommends that users create a profile, check stops near them and get used to the user interface. Riders will be able to start booking rides in advance on October 6, the night before the launch.

The transit service will be free to use for the remainder of 2019. Beginning January 1, a new fare structure takes effect including a $2.50 adult single ride.

The town says that the first few months of the service act as a pilot to gather ride data and make adjustments to the service. After putting out a request for proposal, the town committed to a five-year term with contractor Southland Transportation to operate the service.

“Local transit in Cochrane was approved in 2018 as part of the 2019-2021 budget,” reads a release from the town.

“Buses in Cochrane will serve local destinations initially, but plans are underway to add regional destinations like Crowfoot LRT station and post-secondary institutions in Calgary.”

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