The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) board approved a three-year MicroTransit Pilot Project that will bring a new Metro-operated, on-demand shared ride service for short trips to six designated service zones in Los Angeles County.

The board approved awarding a $29-million contract to private ridesharing company RideCo Inc. to partner with Metro to operate the service, subject to resolution of any protests. The board also approved nearly $8 million in funding for operational expenses and to hire 80 new Metro employees to operate the vehicles.

More than 50% of all trips in Los Angeles are short, solo trips using a private car service or driving alone. The pilot is designed to capture more of those trips, by offering a flexible, on-demand service operated by Metro employees in vehicles that hold up to 10 passengers. The pilot project will also expand ride-hailing technology to all public transit customers, including historically underserved communities and populations, along with areas of Los Angeles County where fixed-route bus or rail service is less frequent or unavailable.

The technology behind MicroTransit will allow riders to plan entire trips — both MicroTransit and their bus and train ride — using real-time booking through a single mobile app, internet browser, or Metro’s call center. Riders will be able to pay for the service by using their TAP card and TAP account, or with a debit, credit, or prepaid credit card.

Fare pricing has not yet been determined for MicroTransit.

Metro plans to roll out its MicroTransit service starting with the Watts/Willowbrook zone in summer 2020. It will operate seven days a week and 12 hours a day, initially.

Culver City Bus also plans to roll out MicroTransit service and will use the same regional platform established by Metro to create a seamless transfer and improved user experience across the region’s public transit network.

Similar to other pilot projects, MicroTransit staff will be continually adjusting this service based on demand and real-time results from data collected during its operation.

MicroTransit will be the first of the Twenty-Eight by ’28 Initiative projects to be delivered in anticipation of the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The initiative aims to build 28 major mobility projects by 2028.

Originally posted on Metro Magazine

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