Sacramento Debuts On-Demand Transit Service
"It's a radical notion in the public transit world, unheard of just a few years ago," Tony Bizjak writes. "But the concept of public shuttle buses that act more like Uber cars is about to become a growing reality in Sacramento, at least on a test basis."
While on-demand microtransit has a mixed history in the private sector, "Transit agency officials say the experimental service – called SmaRT Ride – has shown enough promise that they plan to expand it to nearly a dozen neighborhoods around the county over the next year [...]."
The concept is meant to counter steady ridership losses to companies like Uber and Lyft. "Riders summon the shuttle via phone app or a phone call. The buses arrive within a half hour, not nearly as fast as an Uber car might." But prices are more reasonable. "Riders pay the regular transit fee, $2.75 for a single ride, $1.35 for seniors."
Civic leaders in the area tout the service as a solution to the challenges of operating transit in suburbia. "Fixed-route bus service is less expensive for SacRT to operate, officials said, but on-demand shuttles can pencil out in areas where bus ridership is low and per-passenger costs are higher."