Innisfil residents took nearly 5,000 Uber trips during the first two months of a new taxpayer-subsidized partnership with the ride-sharing service.

Innisfil launched a project in May to gauge the effectiveness of using Uber as an “outside the box solution” to the lack of public transit in the town.

Under the partnership, residents can order an Uber to go anywhere in town and pay only $3 to $5. The town then pays the remainder of the fare, which has translated into an average subsidy of $5.43 per trip so far. Between May 15 and July 15, a total of 4,868 trips have been taking using the service.

“Overall, staff is very pleased with the results from the first two months of the ridesharing transit service,” a report that will be tabled at tonight’s Innisfil council meeting reads. “The total costs after two months have been $26,462.41 for the town’s ridesharing transit service, while there would have been a $270,000 start-up net cost for one bus and $610,000 for two buses running along routes servicing only a small portion of the town. This strongly indicates that the cost of a fixed-route bus system to service all of Innisfil would have been far greater and a less convenient option than through the current ridesharing transit service.”

Innisfil has set aside $100,000 for the first phase of the pilot project, which is expected to take place over six to nine months, and another $125,000 for the second phase of the pilot project in 2018. The staff report says that ther project remains on budget following the first two months.

The staff report also points out that the town will be eligible for up to $75,000 in funding from the provincial gas tax but will not be able to receive that money until the service has been in effect for a full year.

In the interim, staff say that they are continuing to promote the service and will explore branding options for it and will also look at the potential for fare integration with external transit agencies such as Metrolinx.

For its part, Uber said in a statement that it is pleased with the results of the partnership and hopes to have “continued dialogue with other jurisdictions and transit authorities across Canada to explore similar partnerships.”