Calif.’s Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) announced the imminent launch of its microtransit pilot project, SmaRT Ride. The pilot will bring on-demand transit to the City of Citrus Heights, enabling residents to hail rides on smaller, neighborhood friendly-sized public transit buses, similar to services like Uber or Lyft. SacRT’s new service will leverage innovative app-based technology created by TransLoc.
“SacRT is excited to be among a select few transit agencies across the nation leading the way in this new on-demand, microtransit frontier for the transit industry,” said GM/CEO Henry Li. “We believe TransLoc’s demand-response technology has the potential to influence a broader audience to use public transit by conveniently connecting more people and places to our existing system.” SacRT is the first transit agency to bring a microtransit service to the Sacramento Valley.
The new on-demand service will be piloted for six months enhancing the existing City Ride service, a dial-a-ride service that currently provides 8,000 annual trips in Citrus Heights. The service will also see a name change to “SmaRT Ride” with its debut on Monday, February 12.
The innovative program allows customers to request rides in the Microtransit app using a smartphone or via an online form. Similar to ride-hailing services, a shuttle bus will pick riders up wherever they are and take them where they want to go.
Following a ride request, SmaRT Ride will provide passengers with an estimated pick-up time and when the rider is the next passenger in the queue. Passengers will also be alerted when their ride is about to reach their desired destination. Notifications will be sent via the Microtransit app.
Available from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, the on-demand service will cost the same as SacRT’s current fixed-route service at just $2.75 per trip, or $1.35 for those eligible for discount fare. The low-cost makes SacRT’s new on-demand service much more affordable than a traditional ride-hailing service, which could cost upwards of $10 for a similar trip during peak surge times.
The Microtransit app used to schedule rides and track trips is tied to a software scheduling program that builds flexible and efficient transit routes to manage incoming trip requests.
SacRT partnered with TransLoc to perform the six-month pilot using their propriety technology, beginning with a detailed simulation report from TransLoc’s MicroTransit Simulator.
Phase 2 of the pilot will possibly explore expanding SmaRT Ride to Orangevale and the City of Folsom in the months to come.