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On-demand busing underway in Powell River

Pilot project launches in Westview area seven days per week
Zunga Bus Powell River
IN OPERATION: The Zunga Bus pilot project is now operational in Westview, providing riders an on-demand bus service using a smartphone app to interface with the system. In the photo [from left] are City of Powell River sustainability planner Ana Lukyanova, councillor Rob Southcott, transit supervisor Gerry Woods and manager of transportation Cam Reed. Paul Galinski photo

City of Powell River’s first on-demand bus is now operating.

At the February 4 city council meeting, councillor CaroleAnn Leishman said she wanted to spread the good news that the city had launched the Zunga Bus pilot project.

“It’s a soft launch, so it’s considered phase one of the launch,” said Leishman. “The Zunga Bus is now active from noon to 7:30 pm seven days a week.”

Leishman said the Zunga Bus app can be downloaded on smartphones to book rides. The first phase will have the bus operating in the Westview area. She said its operating area will hopefully expand in later phases and accept wheelchair passengers down the road.

The app is simple to use, said Leishman. It is available on Android and iPhone platforms and can be downloaded from the Google Play and iPhone app stores.

“It’s pretty straightforward so I encourage people to check it out and give the Zunga Bus a try within Westview,” said Leishman.

Mayor Dave Formosa asked if riders can call in if they don’t have a smartphone. Leishman said there would be phone bookings in the future.

Councillor Cindy Elliott asked if the Zunga Bus costs the same as the regular bus. Leishman said it costs the same as regular transit at $2.25 a ride.

Councillor Jim Palm asked while the bus is servicing Westview, if it is open to the general public. Leishman said the bus is open to anyone.

She said people could download the app and pay for their rides through the app; there is no exchange of cash. She said users can buy a single ride or books of 10 or 20 tickets.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Leishman.

According to the Zunga Bus website, the bus offers door-to-door service in most of its service areas. In special places such as Willingdon and Marine Avenue, it uses designated stops. The website states that if people are catching a ride in a special area, the app will direct them to walk to the closest designated stop.

Riders will be given arrival estimates and alerts before the bus arrives; it can be tracked on a map in real time.

Face masks are required onboard.

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