Norfolk County's switch to Blaise Transit's on-demand model slashes wait times and expands access, boosting ridership by 234%.


Norfolk County


Southwestern Ontario, Canada




May 2023


On-demand transit


Expand coverage, increase frequency and efficiency


Norfolk County, situated in Ontario, Canada, has long been a setting for rural living. As Norfolk County’s population grew, so too did the need for improved public transit throughout the area. Norfolk County initiated a project called "Ride Norfolk" to enhance the public transportation experience for its residents. The project was launched in two phases, with the first phase introducing a fixed-route system in May 2023, and the second phase implementing a fully on-demand transit model in July 2023.

The Ride Norfolk project had a comprehensive set of goals to transform public transit in Norfolk County. Its main objectives were to improve the transit experience by reducing wait times and travel durations, increasing reliability, expanding service coverage, and accommodating diverse travel needs. Additionally, an integral part of this transformation was to provide access to public transit to the entire county on a consistent basis, five days a week, as opposed to serving specific communities on specific days.  

Our Solution

To address the objectives set and challenges faced by Norfolk County, Norfolk partnered with Blaise Transit. The two-phase approach was designed to gradually transition from a fixed-route model to a fully on-demand transit service, allowing the employees and residents time to adjust to a new software and booking process. Norfolk County has embraced Blaise's all-encompassing software suite, incorporating a user-friendly rider app and website that empowers passengers to seamlessly book, pay for and track their own trips as well receiving service updates in real-time. In addition, the county is leveraging the capabilities of Blaise Drive and Blaise Engine software components to harness the power of AI for optimizing scheduling, routing, and dispatching within their on-demand service.


Phase 1 - Fixed Route Implementation

In May 2023, Phase 1 of Ride Norfolk was launched, migrating one of their existing fixed-route systems onto the Blaise platform. Passengers could book trips via a mobile app, enhancing convenience and reducing wait times. The system initially showcased promising results. A total of 22 unique riders engaged with the new service. The fixed-route system recorded 507 rides, witnessing steady growth, with 208 riders in May and 299 in June. The number of trips per passenger on average was 23.

Transition to Phase 2 - On-Demand Transit

Building on the success of Phase 1, Norfolk County and Blaise Transit moved to Phase 2 in July 2023. This phase introduced a fully on-demand transit model for the remainder of the Ride Norfolk service while maintaining the operation of the initial fixed line. The on-demand system provided passengers with greater flexibility in booking trips, optimizing routes dynamically to cater to individual travel needs. The transition to the new on-demand service model significantly expanded access to underserved communities, which previously only had buses running once, or at most, twice a week. This enhancement led to a remarkable growth in service adoption, evident by the fact that the number of unique riders surged to 298 during this phase.

July 2023 emerged as a pivotal moment, witnessing 791 rides on the first month of the on-demand service. As of January 31st, 2024, the service reached a record high of 2072 passengers. This not only marked a 234% surge compared to the previous fixed-route ridership figures but also showcased a truly impressive leap of 120% from the ridership recorded in July when they first moved to on-demand.  

The transition to the on-demand model brought about remarkable improvements:

  • Wait Time and Pickup Deviation: The on-demand model boasted an average wait time of just 2 minutes and an average deviation of less than 3 minutes between actual and promised pickup times, enhancing passenger satisfaction.
  • Enhanced Booking Methods: The on-demand service continued to offer app-based booking (78%), as well as accommodating ad-hoc/walk-on passengers (3%) and those who preferred calling the centre (19%).
  • Passenger Rating: The service earned a passenger rating of 4.70, indicating strong customer satisfaction. This continues to increase throughout the service period.
  • Efficient Utilization: The stop optimization method contributes to efficient route planning, benefiting both passengers and operational efficiency.
  • Improved service frequency: The frequency of service has noticeably improved, ensuring more efficient and reliable transportation.  

Passenger rating: 4.70


Join our growing network of sustainable transit!

Bus Icon