Aug. 17, 2023 (NORMAN, OK) — The City of Norman, Oklahoma is proud to announce the launch of Norman On-Demand, a new app-based public transit pilot program designed to fill transportation access gaps in coreNorman. Service starts on Aug. 21, and riders can get their first six trips for free.
Through the use of intelligent technology, Norman On-Demand will expand access to safe, affordable public transportation, particularly during evening hours and on Sundays (when other public transit options are limited). The Norman On-Demand app will power the University of Oklahoma’s SafeRide program, a program designed to provide safe and free late-night transportation to OU students, with an upgraded user experience that includes real-time updates, efficient routing, and enhanced reliability.
How it works:
Norman On-Demand will be powered by a new TransitTech provider, Via, which powers hundreds of similar programs around the world. Riders can book a trip at a moment’s notice through an app or by calling a phone number, and Via’s intelligent algorithm will match riders headed in the same direction into shared vehicles.
Riders will typically be directed to a nearby “virtual pickup and drop-off stop.” The result is an efficient transit option that combines the affordability and sustainability of the bus with the convenience of a taxi.
How to ride with Norman On-Demand:
- Download the “Norman On-Demand” app from the App Store or Google Play Store and follow the sign-up steps. Enter pickup and drop-off addresses in the app.
- Wheelchair- accessible vehicles are available upon request.
- Riders will receive an ETA from their driver and can follow along in real time in the app to see when and where to meet their driver.
- Phone booking: Regular rides can be requested by calling 405-643-8638.
- Monday - Wednesday: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Thursday - Saturday: 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.
- Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Norman On-Demand regular fares are $2 per ride, plus $1 for each additional rider.
- During OU Student SafeRide hours (Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 p.m.- 3 a.m.), students ride for free.
- To be eligible for the free student SafeRides, students MUST create their account using their official OU email address.
- Student rides outside OU SafeRide hours pay the Norman On-Demand regular fares listed above.
“We appreciate the support of Norman City Council and partnership of the University of Oklahoma in the launch of this pilot program,” said Taylor Johnson, Transit & Parking Program Manager for the City of Norman. “We are looking forward to the opportunity of testing a new affordable and flexible public transit option for our community members.”
“The City of Norman supporting our SafeRide program is inspiring. It recognizes students as a vital extension between the Norman community and campus,” said Dr. David Surratt, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “This partnership will help us ensure safe, affordable, and sustainable transportation for all students.
"SGA could not be more excited for our partnership with the City for the new SafeRide program. One of SGA’s core values is to ensure every student feels safe on campus and I am excited to continue SafeRide as a resource for students, and for them to have access to affordable transportation with Norman On-Demand. I cannot wait to see this partnership in action as this will ensure wellbeing and protection for all students,” said OU Student Government Association President Christopher Firch.
History of Norman On-Demand
At the direction of Norman City Council, Norman city staff began exploring options for microtransit to expand the the city’s access to flexible, efficient public transportation in 2021. After thorough research and public meeting discussion during fiscal year 2022, funding for a microtransit pilot program was approved in the fiscal year 2023 budget. Following consultation work and requests for proposals, the City of Norman engaged with TransitTech provider Via by contract in June 2023 and finalized a partnership agreement with the University of Oklahoma in August 2023. Learn more at normanok.gov.
More information about Norman On-Demand can be found at https://city.ridewithvia.com/norman.
Founded in 2012, Via pioneered the transportation technology category (TransitTech) by using new technologies to develop public mobility systems, optimizing networks of buses, shuttles, vehicles for the disabled, school buses, autonomous vehicles, and electric vehicles around the world. By building the world's most efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation network for all passengers-including those with limited mobility, those without smartphones, and people without bank accounts-Via works with its partners to lower public transportation costs and provide transportation options that can rival the convenience of a personal car while reducing environmental impact. At the intersection of transportation and technology, Via is a visionary market leader that combines software innovation with sophisticated service design and operational expertise to radically improve the way the world moves, delivering technology in 600 cities and more than 35 countries.