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LA County Metro Investigates Micro-Transit Possibilities

BY SKIP DESCANT

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Transit riders in Los Angeles could get a new mobility option that works something like a hybrid version of Uber and a van pool.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has put out a request for proposals (RFP) to develop what it is calling a “micro-transit” program. The request is to produce a pilot program that would take passengers from one destination to another at a low cost, traveling in a ride-share vehicle.
“Think of it like a van or a mini-bus,” said Joshua Schank, chief innovation officer for Metro. The idea is the developer will create the software to make this on-demand transit program function.
“Our intention is to make the same Metro service that’s provided with our operators and our vehicles, just using someone else’s software,” said Schank.
The entire concept is still in the early stages, and Metro wants the developers to determine the overall structure and coverage area.
“We want the folks who design this thing to have some skin in the game and be a part of the process,” he said. “We didn’t go out and say, ‘We want to do it there.’ And then learn, well actually, that technology doesn’t work there. We want them to help us decide where it goes, and what it looks like, within certain parameters that we’ve set out in the RFP.”

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