Transit agencies are implementing microtransit solutions that improve the rider’s experience by operating small-scale, on-demand public transit services that that can offer fixed routes and schedules, as well as flexible routes and on-demand scheduling.
4 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Microtransit
The growing interest in microtransit has transportation leaders blending the best of both worlds by leveraging technology to build the public transportation of tomorrow. Before pulling the trigger, however, decision-makers should ask themselves four key questions.
Worcester Regional Transit Lands Grant for Microtransit Service
The Massachusetts-based Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) received $459,430 in Discretionary Funding from MassDOT to pilot an on-demand microtransit service with Via in Westborough, MA. The project will be the first public-private transit partnership in the Central Massachusetts region that will introduce on-demand microtransit.
January 2020 Update
The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) is expanding its on-demand microtransit service to six additional communities, making SacRT the largest microtransit provider in the country with 42 shuttles, according to SacRT. SacRT has also launched a new app for all SmaRT Rides users.
FEB 2018 – AUG 2018
The Sacramento, CA Regional Transit agency (SacRT) launched a six-month microtransit pilot in its Citrus Heights suburb in February2018. SacRT chose Citrus Heights for a six-month pilot program because the agency already had two local shuttles there that pick up passengers at their doorsteps. But those dial-a-ride buses require phone reservations a day in advance and have proven to be cumbersome to manage. They also don’t work for people used to instant service. Working similar to Uber, microtransit buses carry a handful of riders at a time. The driver uses an iPad on the dashboard showing the shortest route to get passengers to their individual destinations. The microtransit service — to be operated by SacRT instead of through a public-private partnership — will cost the city about $25,000 for needed software. Again, SacRT’s 2018 budget already allows for the cost of two shuttle buses and drivers.
The pilot, which will enable riders to request specific pick-up and drop-off locations, is being put in place to improve existing “dial-a-ride” bus services. The the on-demand service can be requested via smartphones.
The Delicate Balance of Microtransit by Katherine Lewis
With many public transit agencies seeing declining ridership in recent years, and technology advances facilitating scheduling of small-capacity vehicles, many systems are looking to microtransit to improve customer service and expand their service area. This feeds into changing customer expectations—thanks to disruptive technology across a range of industries—for everything at our fingertips, from food through DoorDash to movies on Netflix and rides via Uber and Lyft. Read more in APTA’s Passenger Transport.
Lane Transit District (LTD) Launches EmGo
EmGo is a five passenger, all-electric powered vehicle and is free for users. Riders can schedule EmGo by using a mobile app and navigating to one of the many pickup spots in downtown Eugene. EmGo is an on-demand microtransit solution to parking and traffic congestion and aims to improve livability and workability, support local businesses, and give people more mobility options. Built by Polaris, the EmGo is powered by a 48V AC battery. Four EmGo electric vehicles were purchased with Statewide Transportation Improvements Funds (STIF) from the state of Oregon. The city of Eugene, Lane County and the LCOG have each invested additional financial resources to partner with LTD to offer the free EmGo pilot service for one year.
The Rapid Launches Rapid on Demand
Grand Rapids, MI
The Rapid, in partnership with Via, has deployed Rapid On Demand. This is a six-month, app-based pilot program to test the feasibility of on-demand ridesharing as a public transportation solution for seniors and persons with disabilities
Riders with GO!Bus eligibility can utilize this free app if they live and travel within the pilot project’s service area, which spans from downtown Grand Rapids to the southeastern portion Grand Rapids and Kentwood. Rapid On Demand provides same-day rides to individuals with a wait time of 15 minutes or less.
COTA Launches COTA Plus
The City of Columbus won the US Department of Transportation’s smart city challenge in 2016. One development of this award is the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) recent launch of an on-demand microtransit pilot project in Grove City, Ohio, a rapidly growing area just southwest of Columbus. This first of its kind service integrates technology with a microtransit solution to provide customers with further access to jobs, healthcare and more, while also offering a fast, convenient and comfortable transit solution. COTA, a 2018 APTA Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award winner, has developed the COTA Plus app and this new service. COTA Plus will be powered by Via, a branded application for download that will allow for fare payment, trip planning and operator requests.
Tri Delta Transit Launches Tri MyRide
Tri Delta Transit has launched of Tri MyRide, a flexible and dynamic on-demand shuttle service operating in neighborhoods near the Antioch BART Station and Pittsburg Bay Point BART Station. This 6 month pilot program began operation June 17, 2019. Tri MyRide operates Monday thru Friday from 5am to 8pm and is just $2 per ride. To use this new ride share program, passengers located within the service area download the free Microtransit by TransLoc app to their smartphone and request a ride.
Capital Metro Launches Pickup
Capital Metro has launched a ride-hailing bus service in Manor, TX called Pickup that takes customers from their front step to anywhere within the service zone. Customers can request a ride directly from their phone, either through an app or by calling the Pickup Service Center.
The new service was launched on June 3, replacing MetroBus Route 470. Pickup will come to Austin in late 2019 and serve the four areas included in the MetroLink pilot program.
MaaS: A tool for Small Urban and Rural Communities
Tompkins County, NY
Presentation on how Tompkins County, NY Department of Social Services implemented Mobility as a Service (MaaS) into their transportation services.
Gwinnett County Microtransit Pilot
SEPT 2018 – OCT 2018
Gwinnett County, GA
The Microtransit pilot is part of a plan for how the County would like to develop its transit networks to serve current and future needs. The plan aims to establish a countywide vision with broad-based support for future dedicated transit funding/implementation as well as to make transit a mode of choice for work and leisure trips. Read more about the pilot project.