Rider Profile: Meet Franklin.• 2 min read
On-demand transit in Fort Worth, Texas, helps Franklin save money with affordable, efficient transportation — connecting him to both work and fun.
We spoke to some riders of our US-based services to get a sense of what on-demand transportation means to them. From small-town North Carolina to big-city Texas, our Rider Profiles present microtransit in the eyes of those who depend on it most. Click here to explore more.
With roots in the cattle and oil industries, Fort Worth proudly calls itself “the most typically Texan of all Texas cities.” It’s now also home to an array of companies in diverse industries, many of which are located in a business district known as the Mercantile. Yet Fort Worth lacked an efficient way for locals to make first- and last-mile connections to Mercantile Center commuter rail station — until 2019.
That’s when Trinity Metro, a Fort Worth-area public transit provider, partnered with Via to create ZIPZONE: a microtransit service that brings commuters to and from Mercantile Center Station for a flat fee. Following a service expansion, riders can now hail a ZIPZONE shuttle to connect to the Crowley and Near Southside areas of Fort Worth, too, with Via’s dynamic routing technology ensuring a quick and easy ride.
“I usually ride with a driver named Charlotte, who is a real sweetheart — every time I’ve had her as a driver, she has bent over backwards to help me out …. I’ve never had that from drivers with other platforms.”
Franklin — who helps remodel Amazon distribution and fulfillment centers for a technology company — doesn’t own a car and relies on ZIPZONE to get around. The service’s affordable price was a major selling point for him, allowing him to “splurge on stuff like going to the zoo [using the Mercantile ZIPZONE] with my family.”
Franklin added that, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he’s never felt like he was at risk in a ZIPZONE shuttle. “It’s very safe,” he said. “They actually put guards up between the passengers and the driver.”
When he has to travel for work, ZIPZONE is also a part of his transit route to the airport. “I usually ride with a driver named Charlotte, who is a real sweetheart — every time I’ve had her as a driver, she has bent over backwards to help me out [with my bags],” Franklin said. “I’ve never had that from drivers with other [on-demand rideshare] platforms.”