The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) issued a request for proposals to provide discounted on-demand transportation for late-night employees during hours when Metrorail is closed. Under a one-year pilot program, WMATA would subsidize trips taken with ride-hailing or taxi companies during late-night hours to support more cost-effective options for eligible workers, primarily in the hospitality and healthcare industries.
The on-demand service will be offered seven days a week for trips within WMATA’s service area between midnight and 4 a.m. The agency would pay the first $3 of the fare, up to a maximum of 10 trips per week per registered rider. The budget for the one-year pilot will be capped at $1 million.
The program is intended to benefit overnight workers affected by changes in Metrorail’s operating hours to support improved maintenance, safety, and reliability.
Metrorail reliability has been near record highs for the past two months, with more than nine in 10 trips arriving on time and unscheduled track disruptions down 75% in the second half of 2018, compared to the prior year, WMATA reports. The improved infrastructure condition has also resulted in a sharp reduction in single-tracking events (down 35%) over the past eight months compared to the prior year.
Responses from prospective vendors are due April 10, and the program could begin as soon as this summer. The pilot results will be reviewed to determine whether to extend the program beyond one year.