Kitsap Transit’s BI Ride offers app to book, track, pay for on-demand bus service

July 8, 2021
Those who download the Ride Pingo mobile app can book, track and pay for a trip on BI Ride, Kitsap Transit’s on-demand bus service.

Thanks to a partnership between Kitsap Transit and The Routing Company, getting around Bainbridge Island, Wash., without getting behind the wheel just got a lot more convenient for residents and tourists.

Those who download the Ride Pingo mobile app can book, track and pay for a trip on BI Ride, Kitsap Transit’s on-demand bus service for getting almost anywhere on Bainbridge Island. BI Ride will continue to make scheduled departures from the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal; travelers can reach the rest of the island by using the app or calling BI Ride. 

Launched in 2008, BI Ride has been offering same-day trip scheduling since June 2014; customers book a trip by calling. Regular fare is $2. The service operates on weekdays from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

“We’re excited to make our BI Ride service even more convenient for more people to access our on-demand bus service,” said John Clauson, executive director, Kitsap Transit. 

As Kitsap Transit launches the mobile app for BI Ride, it also is conducting a survey of Bainbridge Island residents and workers to understand their travel needs and attitudes and perceptions of Kitsap Transit’s services. The survey, which closes at the end of July, will provide Kitsap Transit with baseline data as it launches the mobile app for BI Ride. Those who complete the survey are entered in a drawing for a prize. 

Kitsap Transit says it is the first transit agency in the United States to launch a paid pilot program with The Routing Company, a startup spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Ride Pingo is currently available in five cities on three continents: Houston, Texas; Dunoon, Scotland; Campeltown, Scotland; The Grove Estate in Victoria, Australia; and Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra. 

The Pingo platform includes a fleet-management dashboard, a rider app and a driver app. The rider app, Ride Pingo, is available from the App Store for iPhone and Google Play Store for Android. 

“The Routing Company partners with cities and communities to help power the future of public transportation,” said James Cox, CEO of The Routing Company. “Through this pilot with Kitsap Transit, we hope to show how our MIT-inspired technology can help make transit more sustainable and reliable for Bainbridge Island visitors and residents.” 

BI Ride, powered by Pingo, could have a dramatic impact if more Bainbridge Island residents, workers and tourists take advantage of it, notes Kitsap Transit. The city of Bainbridge Island’s Climate Action Plan sets an overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the island by 90 percent by 2045 compared to 2014 levels. But a lack of awareness of BI Ride has meant that many are driving alone who could benefit from it. 

In 2019 the city of Bainbridge Island increased the vehicle license fee from $20 to $30 annually and intended to provide up to $100,000 to support marketing of BI Ride. Earlier this month, the City Council appropriated $100,000 for Kitsap Transit to engage the community on BI Ride. Kitsap Transit will develop a marketing and engagement plan in consultation with the city.