The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is expanding Metro Micro into three new zones in Compton/Artesia, El Monte, and North Hollywood. These areas are currently served by Metro’s Mobility on Demand pilot project, which will end Jan. 24 after two successful years of partnering with private ridesharing company Via.
Metro Micro, the agency’s new ride-hailing service that offers shared rides operated by Metro employees in partnership with RideCo. Inc., will begin operating services in the Compton/Artesia, El Monte, and North Hollywood/Burbank service zones beginning Jan. 25. Rides cost an introductory rate of $1 per ride (transfer not included) for the first six months. Rides must begin and end within each zone.
Metro Micro is designed to replace short, solo trips by offering a flexible, on-demand service operated by Metro employees in vehicles that hold up to 10 passengers. Along with other safety measures, capacity is currently limited to five passengers to reduce risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mobility on Demand pilot began by offering shared rides to or from transit stations in those zones to expand equitable, affordable, and efficient access to Metro’s existing transit network. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro expanded to include essential locations such as grocery stores and hospitals and continued to offer rides at no cost. The project also began delivering food and diapers to families in need in partnership with First 5 LA as the pandemic grew.
“We’re incredibly proud of the successful conclusion of our Mobility on Demand pilot project and excited that the lessons learned will be applied to continue to provide our riders new, high-quality mobility options,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Metro Micro has taken up that mantle of innovation and experimentation and we expect even more success as we expand its footprint to better help our riders get around Los Angeles County for essential trips while reducing traffic.”
Metro’s Mobility on Demand pilot was launched with private ridesharing company Via in 2019 and funded in part by a Federal Transit Administration Mobility on Demand grant and designed to offer a flexible, new option for first- and last-mile trips to and from transit. In its two years of operation, this pilot project provided more than 250,000 rides and met or exceeded project goals, including average wait times, ridership, and average ride ratings, at 4.9 stars out of 5.
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, ridership grew by 178% in 2020 as compared to the previous year, demonstrating the value and importance of on-demand technology for essential trips for vulnerable communities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro expanded the Mobility on Demand project to include essential locations such as grocery stores and hospitals while continuing to offer rides at no cost. The project also began delivering food and diapers to families in need in partnership with First 5 LA as the pandemic grew. Metro will continue these essential goods delivery programs for families in partnership with First 5 LA and its partner organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The addition of the three Metro Micro service zones will be accompanied by a request from the Metro Board of Directors for just under $6 million at their Jan. 28 meeting to cover the cost of operations in these new zones beyond the current fiscal year.