Blaise Transit is thrilled to announce a new on-demand pilot project on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. We’re joining forces with United Manitoulin Island Transit (UMIT) to bring island communities together via affordable, accessible, and cost-efficient public transit.
November 27, 2020 (Montreal, QC) - Blaise Transit is thrilled to announce a new on-demand pilot project on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. We’re joining forces with United Manitoulin Island Transit (UMIT) to bring island communities together via affordable, accessible, and cost-efficient public transit.
We’re providing our on-demand platform and transportation planning knowledge to UMIT, which launched its first fixed bus line in summer 2020. Once deployed in early 2021, the on-demand, AI-powered service will connect residents of Dooganing (South Bay in English), a community within Wiikwemkoong First Nation territory, to other areas of Wiikwemkoong, Manitowaning, and the rest of Manitoulin Island via UMIT’s fixed-route bus line.
The largest freshwater island on Earth*, Manitoulin Island boasts several characteristics that make it ideal for on-demand transit. First, it’s enormous. Driving from one end of the island to the other takes 4 hours, round-trip. Second, it’s sparsely populated, with multiple economic, cultural, and community areas across the island. Such distance between people and place renders public transportation planning challenges. Until now: enter on-demand.
UMIT will pilot a new service using Blaise’s on-demand platform for residents of Dooganing. Located on the southeastern tip of the island, Dooganing is distant from many essential community services and requires a car to access the rest of Manitoulin Island. Our pilot project remedies this by providing both stop-to-stop and door-to-door** services, connecting residents to other communities in Wiikwemkoong and the UMIT fixed-route line. Additionally, Blaise’s analytics tools will enable UMIT to track and analyze ridership data, providing them with a clear window into passenger needs and insights to adapt UMIT’s operations for future growth.
The partnership between UMIT and Blaise also implicitly recognizes that the transit challenges faced by Wiikwemkoong First Nation are not unique. Wiikwemkoong is on unceded land, and the Nation has title to its territory (as with many other First Nations in 95% of British Columbia, the Maritimes, and parts of Ontario and Quebec). Wiikwemkoong, therefore, has legal and operational jurisdiction over its land. However, the reserve system relocated many First Nations, Indigenous, and Aboriginal peoples in Canada to remote and peripheral lands far from traditional territories. Today, this system creates considerable challenges for folks seeking affordable intra-community transit and connectivity to urban regions. Through our alliance with UMIT, we’ll observe if on-demand services can help remedy the problem.
“United Manitoulin Islands Transit (UMIT) has been inspired working with the innovation and creative transit solutions offered at Blaise,” noted Joahnna Berti, Executive Director of UMIT. “We are excited about the opportunity to pilot an on-demand transit system in Wiikwemkoong that will connect passengers to UMIT’s fixed-route service and the wider community on Manitoulin Island. We envision a completely new way of thinking about human travel that will connect our residents with vital services and contribute to revitalizing our local economy.”
Read more about United Manitoulin Island Transit here, view our solutions here, and follow our social media channels for project updates.
* It also possesses the largest lake within an island within a lake.
** Refers to stops for folks with specialized needs.
laise Transit (“Blaise”) is excited to announce their latest executive hire, Sophie Le Blanc, as Blaise’s new Head of Business Development. This new appointment to Blaise’s leadership team follows their recent announcement that the province of Nova Scotia has procured Blaise’s platform to deploy on-demand transit in 23 of their cities.
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