The lab process was focused on trying to develop a prototype that could complement Transit Cape Breton (TCB) service and meet the needs of individuals in times when they could not use TCB to get back and forth to work. When low-income workers have to resort to personal taxi fares to get to work it negatively impacts their motivation and ability to work a low-waged job, as a large portion of their wage is spent on transportation. The intent of the Phase 3 test is designed to encourage the further use of TCB, and other low-cost transportation options, whenever possible, while decreasing the cost barrier to get to work when lower cost alternatives are not available. We know from data from the TIL’s prototyping period that individuals use a large selection of options in getting themselves back and forth to work, including, when possible, TCB or free / low-cost personal rides. As a result, it was identified that if a solution is further tested, it should encourage multimodal commuting, based on the options that are available to a worker at any given time.
Bus Pass Program & On-Demand Service marry
Given that UWCB has facilitated the free bus pass program in CBRM since 2017, and the learnings from TIL Phase 1 & 2,the need for an additional complimentary service that supports transportation for low income workers, a further test that supports both of these models has been approved. This will allow for exploration in how these services interact in helping to build a more robust transportation complement for low-income workers. The general intent of this model is to provide users with flexible options by combining the existing free bus pass program with on-demand subsidized taxi support, allowing users to travel to work using:
- a) Free bus pass when TCB services meet employment travel needs;
- b) On-demand subsidized taxi service and a free bus pass when the bus cannot meet all of their travel needs to their employer;
- c) On-demand flexible subsidized taxi support when they cannot use the bus to get to work.
This type of test:
- Allows for the collection of data to explore a model where TCB service is encouraged as the primary means of work commuting;
- In situations where individuals cannot use TCB reasonably to get to work, they are not hit with unaffordable personal taxi fees;
- Recognizes that taxis are currently providing a significant portion of transport for low income workers as a method of last resort;
- Works within that system to determine how to lower the cost of that “last resort ride” when individuals have no other option; and,
- Is intended to encourage the aggregation of more affordable on-demand rides.
Pandemic Stall (May 2020-Present)
The current situation has stalled TIL Phase 3 test , which was previously scheduled to run from May-September. As the province reopens we will move into this phase. We should be able to begin this phase in September 2021. The test phase will include the participant ride share model chosen and run for a four month period. The TIL models will not adequately work due to social distancing; we can only put one individual in a vehicle for transport. This delay has caused a gap in the service/project. Although participant counts are somewhat low at this time, there is a demand to support low income individuals seeking work. The TIL full project team has been meeting throughout the pandemic with a focus on implementing the chosen model when it is safe to do so. The team has had time to consider additional partners and a broader scope of the project. COVID-19 has changed the social economic landscape. As a result the team has developed a pilot considering these changes. Bridging the Gap COVID Pilot Evaluation Report