Employment & Opportunities, News

Request for Proposals: Rural Ride-Hailing Feasibility Study

Issue DateFebruary 1, 2024
Closing Date & TimeMarch 1, 2024 at 3:00 PM Pacific Time
RFP ContactAndrea Wilkey, aw*****@fu*****.ca
RFP Questions & UpdatesQuestions re: the RFP should be directed to the RFP contact only.
Responses of relevance to all proponents will be added to the bottom of this RFP.
Proponents are encouraged to check the RFP for updates periodically.

The Project

The study will explore the feasibility of ride-hailing and on-demand transit solutions in the West Kootenay. The region has a population of 82,000 and includes 14 municipalities and 12 electoral areas. There is limited public transit and taxi service available to connect the electoral areas to the municipalities. There is a regional need to improve the availability of transportation options and the ability of the workforce, business travelers, tourist, temporary residents, students, individuals accessing health-care services, and the public to move around the region.  

If deemed feasible, the rural ride-hailing service will:  

  1. Improve workers’ ability to commute to work from electoral areas to municipalities such as Nelson, Castlegar, Trail, and Rossland, and between municipalities;
  2. Improve access to housing by making it feasible to live in electoral areas while working in municipalities;
  3. Improve residents’ ability to access health services such as the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital located in Trail;
  4. Improve connections to other transportation modes such as the West Kootenay Regional Airport (Castlegar), and the Trail Regional Airport;
  5. Provide a transportation alternative to owning one or more vehicles;
  6. Ideally be automated and accessible from mobile platforms;
  7. Provide an incremental source of income to residents;
  8. Reduce the number of vehicles on the road and thereby reduce emissions;
  9. Provide a safe alternative to hitch-hiking by vetting/rating drivers; and,
  10. Provide the ability for residents to access transportation during peak travel times such as work-day commute and evening events.

Project Context and Funding

The Economic Trust of the Southern Interior of BC (ETSI-BC) recognizes the importance of inter-community ground transportation service to the economic and social needs of residents in BC’s Southern Interior. Thanks to financial support from the Province of BC, through the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI), ETSI-BC commissioned the Regional Ground Transportation Study which informed the creation of their Regional Transportation Enhancement (RTE) funding program which provides grants to help enhance transportation plans, partnerships, technology, service communication and seasonal connections between communities in the Southern Interior of BC. 

The Rural Ride-Hailing Feasibility Study project (project) addresses the RTE Program’s objective to: improve local and regional transportation services options by exploring the viability of a service that would provide on-demand transportation to/from specific locations as needed by residents of, and visitors to small communities located at a distance from services and amenities.  

The project addresses recommended Action 4A: from the Regional Ground Transportation Study: Explore the feasibility of ride-hailing and on-demand transit solutions in lower density communities. (See page 52 of the study for reference). 

Scope and Deliverables

The communities that will be included in the service area include Nelson, Castlegar, Trail, Rossland, New Denver, Nakusp, Kaslo, Creston, Salmo, Fruitvale, Slocan, and surrounding areas.  

It is recognized that population and density are factors in determining the viability of ride-hailing and on-demand transit solutions. As such, if the geographic scope of the project needs to be increased to meet minimum population requirements for the service to be viable, additional adjacent communities such as Grand Forks or Cranbrook may be included in the study area. 

The feasibility study will determine if and how rural ride-hailing services can be provided in the West Kootenay region by:  

  1. Researching existing ride-hailing service providers—including Uber, Lyft, Poparide, etc.— and identifying which, if any, would be suitable for and willing to set up operations in a rural region;
  2. Identifying the appropriate geographic region to launch a ride-hailing service within including population size;
  3. Propose alternate solutions to address this gap in transportation such as a custom-built platform or expansion of Kootenay Carshare Cooperative offerings; and,
  4. Recommended next steps.

Project oversight will be provided by the Community Futures Central Kootenay Executive Director.  

Ride-Hailing

For this project, ride-hailing is when a rider “hails” or hires a personal driver to take them exactly where they need to go. Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Poparide provide a customized, convenient solution. 

Project Timeline

  1. Contract Awarded for Feasibility Study, April 5, 2024: completion of RFP process for a contractor.
  2. Feasibility Study Completed, September 27, 2024: feasibility study findings provided.

Proposal Contents

Proposals to include:  

  • Proponent overview and relevant experience; 
  • Research approach and methodology to carrying out the study;  
  • Timeline, including anticipated milestones, to complete the study;  
  • Budget (including contractor’s hourly and total project rate, travel costs, GST if applicable, and any other expenses deemed necessary to fulfill project deliverables);
  • Total budget must not exceed $20,000; and 
  • Three references.  

Proposal Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed based on the following criteria:  

  • Knowledge of rural ride-hailing and rural transportation solutions; 
  • Knowledge of the West Kootenay region; and 
  • Budget. 
Closing Date & Time:Friday, March 1, 2024 at 3:00 PM Pacific Time
Submission must be submitted by email to:aw*****@fu*****.ca
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