The private sector can excel at creating products and services that meet and exceed customer demand. Metro aims to achieve those kind of results with its upcoming Microtransit service.
The Metro Board of Directors on Thursday approved contracts totaling $885,247 to three vendors — RideCo, NoMad Transit and Transdev — to plan and design Microtransit, which is planned to launch in 2019.
The service will offer current and future Metro customers the ability to use cell phones to order, pay for and monitor the status of their pick-up and drop-off in Metro vehicles. The service will not be tied to a fixed route or schedule. Instead, Metro customers will be able to request a ride when they need it in real-time. The new on-demand service will initially be deployed in smaller zones throughout the County as to determine customer demand and financial viability.
The three vendors awarded contracts possess vast private sector expertise in fields such as mobile technology, UX/UI design, brand, big data and analytics. Collectively, the vendors bring direct experience in planning, design, and implementation of on-demand services in North America, Europe and Asia. The Metro staff report on these contracts can be found here.
Over the next six months, the vendors will work with Metro staff and leadership to deliver a complete plan for implementation of the service. The plan will include the type of vehicles (likely to be a mixed fleet), the service zones, the fare structure and strategy to integrate the service with Metro’s current service lines. In an effort to place customers at the core of each business decision, the vendors will also be responsible for producing a customer success plan and researching use cases to estimate and forecast customer demand. Metro will ultimately choose one or more of the plans to pursue based upon service feasibility and affordability.
By inventing and implementing this service, Metro will find out whether placing user experience at the core of transit design can attract current customers to ride Metro more often as well as bring new customers to the Metro system. The Eno Center for Transportation published Metro’s initial research on this topic in UpRouted: Exploring Microtransit in the United States in January 2018. Metro staff will brief the Aging and Disability Transportation Network in May and the Ad-Hoc Customer Experience Committee in June on project milestones.
Sr. Director, Special Projects Rani Narula-Woods in Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation manages the Microtransit Pilot Project.