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Transit On-Demand pilot program: hail transit on Bowen Island with an app

As part of our TransLink Tomorrow program, we’re launching a new pilot program that will test on-demand transit services for Bowen Island residents and tourists.

Instead of having to follow set timetables, anyone on the island will be able to use a mobile app called TapRide — think of it as ride haling for public transit or transit hailing! The app will allow you to book journeys and track buses in real-time.

If you’re a Bowen Island transit customer or a tourist to the island, visit to download the TapRide app. Not an app person? No problem! There’s also an online and phone-in booking system (more info on that via

The Transit On-Demand shuttle for the pilot program, which launches on July 15 and runs until September 15.

Customers will be able to:

  • Set their own pick-up time and drop-off locations on Bowen Island
  • View journey times and arrival estimates
  • Track on-demand bus locations in real-time
  • Have access to expanded service coverage on the island

When will the pilot run?

The pilot will run from July 15 until September 15, 2019 with two TransLink on-demand shuttles with a special livery that makes them easy to identify.

It will operate between:

  • 4:30 and 9:30 p.m. on weekdays (fixed pick-up at Snug Cove ferry terminal)
  • 10:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekends (flexible pick-up and drop-off)

This pilot program follows a small-scale beta test earlier this year where some residents volunteered to test the software. The service will supplement existing bus routes, not replace them.

Gary Ander (mayor of Bowen Island), Bowinn Ma (Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink) and Kevin Desmond (TransLink’s CEO) launch the new Transit On-Demand service at a media event on Monday, July 8.

What’s next?

Bowen Island is our testing grounds and we’re excited for this launch!

We’ll use data and feedback received during the pilot to help refine the transit on-demand model. If successful, it could also be adapted for use in other parts of Metro Vancouver!

The hope with this new technology is to test the ways we can provide faster, seamless transit in our region. The pilot will build a framework that can be replicated in other suburban cities. It will test the effectiveness of flexible services compared to fixed route services.

Most importantly, TransLink’s developing a new regional transportation strategy, called Transport 2050, that will outline our options for getting around between now and 2050. Is it more on-demand transit services like this? Make sure you take the survey at, and share your creative and bold ideas to our ideas board.

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