One of the agency’s most intriguing projects — Metro MicroTransit — takes a nice step forward today when at 2 p.m. Pacific time, Metro releases its Request for Proposals (RFP) for the pilot program on our Vendor Portal.
MicroTransit is basically a small vehicle that you can order (like you would a Lyft or Uber) that is not tied to a fixed route or even a fixed schedule. It is on-demand, when you want it, where you want it. Here’s a recent Source FAQ that covers the project’s basics.
Some background: Every year, more new mobility technologies and services are hitting the market, from trip planning apps to new mobile payment options and on-demand transportation services. With people in increasing numbers using these tools to make getting around town easier, more affordable and more sustainable, transit agencies must figure out how to get on board — or they’ll fall behind.
Our MicroTransit pilot program seeks to answer these questions: Does on-demand transportation have a place in a public transit agency’s service options? If so, what does that service look like? And what are the factors that will make it both attractive to riders and financially sustainable for Metro?
A few other folks with some experience in innovation and technology are pretty interested in this question as well! Even the L.A. Times’ editorial board said the Metro MicroTransit project was a “worthy experiment.”
We actually think that even the RFP itself is pretty innovative (if government procurement is the kind of thing that blows your hair back). Rather than trying to design the project ourselves and then seeking an operator, we’re harnessing the best thinking of the private sector firms whose insights will be incorporated directly into the project design. That same firm will help to run the pilot and refine it over time.
Metro will be an equal partner in the project to ensure that it stays laser focused on meeting Metro’s public policy goals (convenient, affordable, accessible and equitable transit) and integrates with Metro’s current rail and bus system, which is seeing record levels of new investment and expansion thanks to Measures R and Measure M.
We’re excited to get to work on this new initiative. You can keep up with updates on the project on our website at http://www.metro.net/microtransit. We certainly don’t think we have all the answers, but we’re pretty sure we’re asking the right questions.