STRATFORD -- The City of Stratford has launched a new digital and personal service for transit riders.

Their first two on demand buses hit the streets on Sunday as a new way to approach public transit ridership during the pandemic.

People can either use the app, the website, or call to schedule for a pickup at one of 285 bus stops in Stratford.

Sasha Lemire and her sister were one of the first to use the new service on Sunday after an afternoon of shopping.

“We were at Wal-Mart and we’re just heading home,” she said. “We booked it about an hour ahead so we’re at home getting ready.”

Riders tell CTV News the easy-to-use service only requires users to put in a pickup location, a destination, and a drop off spot.

“It’s much easier,” said rider Brenda McQuaker. “You’re going from one place to another quicker than going through a whole route.”

Mike Mousley, Manager of Transit for the city, says that Sunday service was especially slow before they launched the new program.

“If you wanted to do something like getting groceries on a Sunday sometimes it could take a whole two hours,” he said.

Riders are asked to board at the back of the bus, use the available hand sanitizer, and wear a mask if they are able.

Mousley adds that more people are boarding the bus as more businesses and services open up.

“Ridership is probably at the 85 per cent mark now,” he said.

The on demand service is being rolled out as a six month pilot project and only for use on Sundays.

“This is something that could stay for a very long time, if not forever,” said Mousley.

The personalized trips are free of charge during the pandemic as well.

Those who are waiting at a bus stop on Sundays, and haven’t scheduled a pickup, will still be picked up if a bus comes around.

However, besides the two on demand buses, there is no fixed route service on Sundays and therefore no other regular riding option.

City officials are still encouraging riders to schedule in advance.