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MicroTransit Pilot

Metro is harnessing the power of new technology to improve the way our customers move.

Advancements in technology have allowed new mobility services to emerge that meet customers’ needs in ways not previously possible, significantly changing the way people travel. Currently, about 84% of commuters drive to work in LA County. Metro has an obligation to test new services to give people more options and to offer better connections to bus and rail networks.

Metro’s MicroTransit Pilot is an experimental new mode, which combines the best of public transit with the best of the private sector’s cutting-edge technology. Imagine a public transit experience in which you could be picked up and dropped off where you wanted when you wanted within designated zones. There would be a unique fleet of vehicles with trained, friendly Metro operators. You would have an option for mobile payment and reliable real-time pick-ups and drop-offs. Maybe you would use this service to connect to Metro’s bus and rail network. Or maybe you would take an entire trip on Metro’s MicroTransit. The new service would be safe, affordable, flexible and convenient.

Metro is currently working on bringing the MicroTransit Pilot to life. Check back in March 2020 for updates.

What will the customer experience be like?

MicroTransit consists of short rides (1-5 miles in length, 20 minutes in duration) in larger vehicles that can be ordered on-demand and shared with other Angelenos to nearby destinations. This ride can conveniently be ordered from a smartphone or a call center. Customers will be able to pay for this service with either a credit/debit card or a TAP card through the mobile app.

How much will it cost?

We don’t know yet. MicroTransit is considered a premium service, so the fare will likely be higher than our regular $1.75 bus or rail fare. But our MicroTransit also will likely be cheaper than a similar ride in a Lyft, Uber, taxis or other private mobility services.

Where will Metro be testing MicroTransit?

After conducting several feasibility studies, taking numerous factors into consideration and talking to various stakeholders, we are narrowing down the areas where we think MicroTransit will be most successful.

But won’t this just take away riders from bus and rail?

We don’t think so. Our research indicates that MicroTransit has the potential to be complementary to transit. One of the goals of MicroTransit is to increase ridership across all modes within the agency by providing improved mobility for our customers. However, if existing riders wind up preferring this service to our other services that is very useful information.

What does “success” look like?

There are many things we’d like to learn with this Pilot such as whether and how customers might use a service like this, what key service design factors matter most to customers and how we can operate in a way that is financially sustainable. However, our biggest priority is to get customers from Point A to Point B as safely as possible and ensure that they have an overall superb customer experience.

How is Metro collaborating with the private sector on this project?

Metro hosted a pre-proposal industry forum to provide potential private sector partners information about the Pilot. The industry forum allowed vendors to ask questions directly to Metro staff, provide feedback on the project and network with potential partners to build a team of technologists, planners, and marketers to respond to the solicitation. Over 300 individuals attended from an array of technology, planning, and outreach firms. Participants came from across the globe.

In 2018, our Board of Directors issued contracts to three private sector companies to conduct feasibility studies for us.

So what makes Metro’s MicroTransit pilot special?

We will be the largest MicroTransit operation in the country and the only one that is run by a public transit agency. Customers can feel safe knowing the individuals behind the wheels are Metro employees who have undergone a rigorous screening process and a specialized training of up to 10 weeks prior to working.

UpRouted: Exploring Microtransit in the United States