Microtransit could bring the advantages of ride-hailing to public transit systems. Riders would summon mid-size vehicles for shared rides, or get solo rides from remote places to transit hubs. One company is set to produce 6 and 8-door electric vehicles for the purpose. Here are some examples, and a discussion of what it means for our cities and climate.
Introduction to Microtransit
Microtransit means shared transportation services that offer routes or schedules adjusted to consumer demand. The private ones (Uber, Lyft, Chariot etc) are well known, but now public transit is starting to use sharing economy services like Lyft Line and UberPOOL, which allow a passenger to share a ride with others nearby, to help public transportation compete. More.
Julie Leach, Dec. 5, 2016, Toronto Atmospheric Fund site
Los Angeles: Metro MicroTransit Service Would Add Uber-like Shuttles to Transportation Network
The MicroTransit system would rely on vehicles larger than a personal automobile, but much smaller than a city bus. And unlike buses, these vehicles would not travel along a fixed route with designated stops. Instead, routes would be adjusted based on where passengers are located and where they need to go. More.
Elijah Chiland, Curbed Los Angeles, Oct. 9, 2017
East Bay: Bus Agency to Launch Uber-like ‘on-demand’ Service
This spring, the small town of Alamo Creek is planning to start a pilot program of a ride-hail public transit option. Some other towns in California are also working on Uber/Lyft-like solutions. More.
Erin Baldassari, East Bay Times, Nov. 16, 2017
Is Microtransit Good or Bad for Cities? Overview and article
This writer suggests that the solution is “for less expensive service tools, including the upstarts, to focus on lower-density suburbia where the land use patterns make efficient big-vehicle transit geometrically impossible. The upstarts could even become contractors of the transit agency part of the time — paid to do things that they can do more efficiently than big buses can — as taxis often are today.”
Summary article by Eric Jaffe, Human Transit, Apr. 28, 2015
More detailed discussion of potential outcomes by Eric Jaffe, CityLab, Apr. 27, 2015