When Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) heard that the first public transit project using ADA-compliant AVs in rural America was launching in her home state, she took time out of her busy Washington schedule to take a ride on the service herself.
On October 5th, the town of Grand Rapids hosted the Senator for the day as she met with the team behind goMARTI: an on-demand pubic transit service launched by Via, Minnesota DOT, May Mobility, and the City of Grand Rapids.
“These free, on-demand shuttles will make a real difference by making it easier to get around town,” said Senator Klobuchar. “goMARTI will give seniors and people with disabilities increased access to the transit services they depend on and, by providing an additional transportation option for residents and visitors alike, it will help us to meet Grand Rapids increasing transit needs.”
goMARTI serves a 17-square-mile service area, with booking available by phone or on a Via-powered smartphone app.
“What we’ve done here is to harness cutting edge technological innovations to address critical community priorities,” the Senator observed. “It really represents the best of what we can do with partnerships and it’s so important because we need transit systems and ways to get around that match where we are now and where we’re going to be — not where we were 100 years ago.”
After lavishing praise on the federal, state, and local officials involved in making goMARTI a reality, Senator Klobuchar also highlighted a new federal grant program, Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART), which can enable other communities nationwide to pursue similarly innovative transit projects. You can learn more about SMART here.
Valdosta just launched its first new public transit network in nearly two decades — and with news that big, even a Senator had to go check it out.
On May 6, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Georgia) took a trip to the City of Valdosta to praise the new on-demand transit service, aptly named Valdosta On-Demand. With rides priced at just $2 and wheelchair-accessible vehicles available, the service offers an affordable and accessible alternative to private vehicle travel. Valdosta residents can call a dispatcher to book their ride, or simply hail one at the touch of a button using the service’s smartphone app.
“It’s unique in the fact that we’re not large enough to have that traditional public transit system that people usually think of, but we’re large enough that we need to provide some public transit service,” said City Manager Mark Barber.
And Sen. Ossoff had nothing but praise for microtransit.
Image courtesy of the Public Information Office of the City of Valdosta, GA
“I want to begin by commending the City leadership for this truly impressive Valdosta On-Demand initiative. This is imaginative, creative leadership: To provide the people of Valdosta with such a valuable public service. This new transit service — it’s flexible and it is already raising the quality of life and the standard of living for folks here in Valdosta by helping folks get around town and live their lives more affordably and more efficiently,” Ossoff said.
“I look forward to working with the City leadership as we craft this infrastructure legislation to support this project and projects like this one.”
Learn more about Valdosta On-Demand here.
The thriving metropolis of Singapore has seen remarkable growth in recent decades. In line, the country’s public transit has also seen consistent growth over the past fifteen years. Bus ridership alone grew 1.5 percent in 2019, averaging over 4 million trips per day, thanks, in part, to an overall population growth of 1.2 percent that year.
With so many people moving around, the nation’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) entrusts its public buses to a few different contractors, including Go-Ahead Singapore. The transportation operator manages 26 bus services out of the Loyang Bus Depot, situated near the eastern tip of the island. As those tasked with transporting millions of people to and from work every day, Go-Ahead Singapore’s drivers are only too familiar with the stresses of a big-city commute. Many of these drivers get to and from the depot for their shifts via a network of employee-only bus services running multiple trips during peak commuter hours.
Towards the end of 2018, Go-Ahead zeroed in on a need to increase the efficiency of this employee service and elevate the quality for bus drivers. Enter: EB Ride, a service that allows employees to book rides in advance through an easy-to-use app, and makes traveling efficient once on the bus.
EB Ride, launched in March of 2019, is a dynamically-routed commuter bus service for exclusive use by Go-Ahead Singapore employees. Users can download the EB Ride App (iOS and Android) and enter their company-provided login credentials. The service is free and users simply enter their origin and destination, one of which must be the Loyang Bus Depot. The app then provides each rider with a pick-up time and location.
Bookings can be made up to two weeks in advance and EB Ride’s intelligent routing algorithm matches riders traveling around the same time and location in order to minimize stops and decrease wait and travel time. In addition to this on-demand, fully dynamic functionality, users are able to track the location of their bus in real-time through the app.
EB Ride is a service built to suit the individual needs of employees, providing a stress-free, seamless transportation experience that keeps drivers relaxed and ready for the day ahead.
Image courtesy of Land Transport Guru
EB Ride, which operates between the depot and the residential areas of Punggol, Pasir Ris, and Changi Village in eastern Singapore, has been adopted by one-third of Go-Ahead Singapore employees who regularly rely on employee bus services. In December 2019, EB Ride expanded its service zone by 2000% to serve 385 square kilometers (over half of the island’s total area) and tripled its fleet from three to nine buses, yet the service still maintains 100% on-time arrivals to work.
In operation for a little over a year, EB Ride has already proven beneficial for everyone involved. Operations Director Gavin Smith lauded the service, specifically noting that EB Ride buses “serve areas that our fixed-line services don’t reach, and have pickup/dropoff points that are closer to home!”
And for the employee perspective? One review on the Google store puts it best: “At last, I can wake up late for morning shift.” With EB Ride, Go-Ahead Singapore’s bus drivers are able to arrive at work every day fully rested and prepared to focus on providing a safe, efficient, and affordable transportation option for all.