The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking for a company to help it build an on-demand transit program, which would supplement the services the agency already runs.
Wired magazine reports that LA Metro calls it “microtransit,” something in between a big bus that follows a rigid route and a personal ride that takes you door to door. The agency that serves 1.3 million daily passengers issued a request for proposals, asking anyone interested to plan, design, implement, and eventually evaluate a microtransit pilot project.
The report adds that Metro kept its demands vague in the interest of “sparking creative solutions”, but it does have a sense of the sort of experimental service it would like to roll out in 2018: You’d use a smartphone app or phone call to beckon a ride from a smaller vehicle, something between a sedan and a full-size bus, which you would share with other riders. That vehicle would run on the same kind of platform you’ll find on UberPOOL, or Lyft Line, dynamically creating routes based on where customers are and where they want to go.
Wired says passengers “might have to walk a block or two to an assigned pickup and drop-off point”, but the ride should come with a free transfer if your next move is a bus or train ride. You’d pay a subsidised, fixed-rate fee that’s competitive with today’s ride-sharing services, and would be able to take these vehicles wherever you want within the pilot’s service area.
It says on-demand, shared microtransit might “gift entire cities with faster, cost effective service and move drivers out of personal cars”.