An on-demand micro-transit pilot in the Central Massachusetts region has received almost half a million dollars in discretionary funding from MassDOT.
In collaboration with Via, the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) will put the $460,000 towards what will be the first on-demand micro-transit public-private transit partnership in the region.
The project will replace the community shuttle the WRTA currently operates and instead will provide a ‘Transportation-as-a-Service’ (TaaS) model to the WRTA using transportation technology firm Via.
Its advanced algorithms enable multiple riders to share a vehicle, working with cities and public transportation agencies around the world to connect more people to transit.
The powerful technology directs passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules. The technology enables on-demand, shared rides through routing determined by Via’s algorithm. Via is not only a technology provider, but has the operational know-how to create a scalable, customizable technology to offer to the public sector.
Passenger Benefits include: on-demand service allows for easy switch from personal vehicle to the transit service; coverage area increases to the entire town of Westborough vs. the existing fixed route network; reduction in overall daily cost for commuters who are currently using the MBTA parking lots; easier to pay fare using mobile apps.
WRTA administrator, Dennis Lipka, said, “We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Via and provide commuters with a new service in Westborough.
“It is important to give our riders access to the best service possible and we feel this partnership will do just that.
“This on-demand transit service will provide residents and employees much needed flexibility and ensure that there are affordable and convenient transportation options available.”
Via has already partnered with some of the world’s largest public transit agencies to solve pressing transportation needs, including the Los Angeles Metro, Transport for London (TfL), Sydney’s Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), and Berlin’s Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG).