Need to evaluate software for ADA paratransit? Read our expert guide.

Planning for innovative urban mobility in Jersey City

In 2020, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and his team at City Hall experimented with a new solution to the city’s long-standing mobility challenge using a new form of transit: on-demand microtransit, in a partnership with Via. Jersey City residents can book trips from their smartphone, or by phoning a call center, to go to where they need to go in a shared ride. 

In a recent webinar from Next City, the city’s transit leaders explained what has made this public-private partnership — which recently celebrated its two-year anniversary — so successful, discuss the history of their collaboration, and share learnings and recommendations for urban leaders looking to pursue similar partnerships.

Join Dan Berkovits, our VP of Strategies, in a discussion with: 

  • Michael J. Manzella, Director of Transportation Planning, City of Jersey City
  • Elias Guseman, Senior Transportation Planner, City of Jersey City

What are the best ways to deploy autonomous driving technology for public use? Just ask the experts.

In a recent webinar, hosted by Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE), industry leaders in the field of autonomous transit discussed why transit agencies are increasingly interested in pursuing autonomous driving technology, its unique benefits, and how to maintain passenger security in potentially driverless vehicles.

Join Ed Niedermeyer, Communications Director for PAVE, in conversation with:

  • Nathaniel Horadam, Managing Consultant and Autonomous Vehicle Specialist, Center for Transportation and the Environment
  • Tim Haile, Executive Director, Contra Costa Transportation Authority
  • Meghan Grela, Autonomous Lead, Via

On January 20, 2022, Rodger Lentz took to the stage at the 2022 North Carolina Transportation Summit to shine a light on RIDE, the City of Wilson’s popular on-demand microtransit service.

Lentz outlines the daily struggle of a transit-dependent resident in the pre-RIDE era, when local buses only ran once an hour and operated with limited transparency and reliability.

“Can we do better for that individual? I think that’s where RIDE comes in.” — Rodger Lentz

Powered by Via’s dynamic routing technology, RIDE launched in September 2020, replacing all existing fixed routes with an on-demand service to better meet the community’s diverse traveling needs. Whether a RIDE is booked through an app or a dedicated dispatch phone number, Wilsonians are able to enjoy city-wide rides for as low as $0.75 for senior citizens and students, or a standard fare of just $1.50.

Lentz demonstrates how this accessible, affordable mobility option is positively impacting residents — the majority of whom make less than $25K a year and do not own a private vehicle.

74% of riders say the money they saved by using RIDE is one of its biggest benefits, and 48% agree that the service has enabled them to access or maintain employment.

“We were able to cover — not 40% of the city — but 100% of the city with transit service. And we’re able to do that with 15-minute average wait times,” Lentz says. “And the fact that we were able then to take the same resources that we had for fixed route and cover an entire city. Now [we’re] connecting people to jobs that were out of reach for them.”

RIDE’s performance is the gold standard of how public transit can rebound when executed smartly — even in the midst of a global pandemic.

“Our transit ridership went up 140% over fixed route, so it’s been a real game-changer in Wilson and we’re very proud of it.”

When Karen King and her team noticed several years of declining ridership across both their paratransit and fixed routes services, they knew a change was needed. As the CEO of Golden Empire Transit (GET) in Bakersfield, California, King manages a sprawling 106 square mile zone that serves a largely agricultural and oil-producing community with nontraditional commuting patterns. Clearly, fixed routes weren’t cutting it. 

That’s why, in 2018, GET introduced a microtransit pilot that then led to an RFP requesting integrated demand-response software. As King puts it, “I said: Why are we using several different software products for services that are so similar and why are we sending two vehicles to pick up two different passengers who are essentially making the same trip?”

Via now powers integrated non-emergency medical transportation, ADA-compliant paratransit, and microtransit service for GET. Watch the Quick Chat, hosted by Mass Transit Magazine‘s Executive Editor Mischa Wanek-Libman, to learn more about the move that has built greater equity and efficiency into the agency’s operations. 

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