The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) board approved an extension to the agency’s rideshare pilot partnership with Via. The vote extends the pilot program for another six months with the option for Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington to extend it another six months at his discretion. It also will allow for an expansion of the pilot’s hours in all three service zones and the addition of weekend service.
The pilot program is an experiment in bringing ride-hailing technology to low-income, disadvantaged riders and riders with disabilities who might not otherwise be able to access innovative mobility options to get to and from major transit centers.
The board’s vote will provide $2.2 million for the first six months, with another $2.7 million if extended for an additional six months. The pilot was launched in January 2019, funded in part by a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration for its Mobility on Demand Sandbox Demonstration program. The pilot came in more than $500,000 under budget in its first year, allowing that to be carried over to help fund the first six months of the extension.
Since launching, the service has provided more than 70,000 rides and exceeded its key goals in terms of rides per week, rides per driver hour, wait times, and customer satisfaction. More than 1,000 riders have used Via’s call-in center, indicating that people without smartphones are using the service. In addition, the service has provided more than 800 rides to passengers requiring special assistance or wheelchair accessibility at about a third of the cost to taxpayers of an Access Services ride.
“We are encouraged by the results so far of this innovative pilot project in offering ridesharing technology to underserved communities,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “We’ll continue to evaluate this pilot to make sure that it’s meeting our goals of providing high-quality mobility options for all while also taking vehicles off the road.”