Rather than using a set schedule that riders can either make work or not, Pantonium Macrotransit used AI software (and an old-fashioned phone-in option) to ask the people of Belleville where they needed to go and when. “Our system then co-ordinates all the buses across the city according to demand. Basically, we’re adjusting the routes and schedule in real time on real people’s schedules,” says Desa.
The project wasn’t just successful but surprisingly so: The area that was serviced increased by 429%, yet vehicle mileage decreased by 30%. Accommodating just 30 riders per hour equated to a 300% increase in usage. The surveyed riders were mostly young, low-income and carless, and more than 70% reported on-demand transit made their commutes more convenient.