The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) announced today that its on-demand microtransit shuttle service called SmaRT Ride is among the most successful microtransit services in the United States, growing despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
SacRT’s SmaRT Ride has experienced steady growth this summer, with July showing the highest ridership month to date, providing approximately 12,200 rides. August ridership was on trend to beat that; however, excessive heat and fire related smoke had a significant impact with nearly 11,500 rides still accomplished.
According to data provided by public mobility company Via, whose technology powers SacRT’s SmaRT Ride app, the service has grown by an average of almost 4% per week in the past two weeks. Last week, SmaRT Ride completed 2,784 passenger trips, placing it among the strongest performing microtransit services in the United States in terms of both ridership and week-on-week growth.
SmaRT Ride only experienced a 15% drop in ridership at the onset of the pandemic in March and April, which represents the value the service brings to the community as an innovative transportation solution. SmaRT Ride has been in operation since February 2018, and has provided more than 230,000 total rides since it launched. This performance is even more impressive given the rapid decline in ridership experienced by many other transit providers around the nation and world due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is amazing to see an increase in ridership during a time when transit is expected to incur steep declines,” says SacRT general manager/CEO Henry Li. “This really speaks volumes about how important innovative public transit service is in the Sacramento region for essential travel, especially in our disadvantaged communities, to access food, healthcare and frontline jobs during the pandemic.”
SacRT’s SmaRT Ride service zones provide lifeline service to communities with populations that are approximately 48% minority, 15% low-income and 13% disabled. While three of the zones, Franklin-South Sacramento, Gerber, and North Sacramento serve disadvantaged communities that consist of more than 80 percent minority populations.
With a total of nine active SmaRT Ride service zones, SacRT is the largest microtransit provider in the country, operating with 45 shuttles, nine of which are zero emission electric vehicles (ZEV). Six ZEVs operate in the Downtown-Midtown-East Sacramento service zone and three ZEVs, provided by Electrify America, operate in the Franklin-South Sacramento zone. SacRT’s SmaRT Ride service is provided through Measure A funding. SacRT was awarded a $12 million grant by the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA) to help expand microtransit on-demand service with a focus on disadvantaged communities throughout the Sacramento region.
Using a mobile app, riders are able to hail a vehicle directly from their smartphone, online or by calling the SacRT call center. Via’s advanced algorithms match multiple passengers into a single vehicle in real time, and enable residents to use on-demand transit as a complement and extension to the existing public transit infrastructure in the city.