The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) board approved a three-year MicroTransit Pilot Project that will bring a new Metro-operated, on-demand shared ride service for short trips to six designated service zones in Los Angeles County.

The board approved awarding a $29-million contract to private ridesharing company RideCo Inc. to partner with Metro to operate the service, subject to resolution of any protests. The board also approved nearly $8 million in funding for operational expenses and to hire 80 new Metro employees to operate the vehicles.

More than 50% of all trips in Los Angeles are short, solo trips using a private car service or driving alone. The pilot is designed to capture more of those trips, by offering a flexible, on-demand service operated by Metro employees in vehicles that hold up to 10 passengers. The pilot project will also expand ride-hailing technology to all public transit customers, including historically underserved communities and populations, along with areas of Los Angeles County where fixed-route bus or rail service is less frequent or unavailable.

The technology behind MicroTransit will allow riders to plan entire trips — both MicroTransit and their bus and train ride — using real-time booking through a single mobile app, internet browser, or Metro’s call center. Riders will be able to pay for the service by using their TAP card and TAP account, or with a debit, credit, or prepaid credit card.

Fare pricing has not yet been determined for MicroTransit.

Metro plans to roll out its MicroTransit service starting with the Watts/Willowbrook zone in summer 2020. It will operate seven days a week and 12 hours a day, initially.

Culver City Bus also plans to roll out MicroTransit service and will use the same regional platform established by Metro to create a seamless transfer and improved user experience across the region’s public transit network.

Similar to other pilot projects, MicroTransit staff will be continually adjusting this service based on demand and real-time results from data collected during its operation.

MicroTransit will be the first of the Twenty-Eight by ’28 Initiative projects to be delivered in anticipation of the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The initiative aims to build 28 major mobility projects by 2028.