Detroit’s SMART Bus, in partnership with Via, is operating a new on-demand transit service, called SMART Flex, to help meet the varying transportation needs of residents in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.
SMART Flex is the agency’s first venture into microtransit and is designed to strengthen a comprehensive transit network across the region by encouraging first-and-last mile connections to existing bus routes, including SMART’s successful FAST service. The service will also facilitate local trips to hospitals, universities, and commercial destinations.
Using the SMART Flex mobile app (available in English and Arabic) anyone within the zones, including residents and workers in Dearborn, Troy, and the Hall Road corridor between Utica and New Baltimore, will be able to hail a vehicle directly from their smartphone or by contacting the call center. Via’s advanced algorithms create quick and efficient trips by matching passengers and vehicles together in real time and directing riders to a nearby “virtual bus stop” for pick up and drop off. The service will offer wheelchair-accessible vehicles and offer door-to-door service for those with limited mobility. Rides will start at $2, with a maximum price of $8, depending on distance. Payment can be made by credit card or with Dart or SMART Passes.
In addition to launching SMART Flex, the agency is using the service to offer rides to and from vaccination sites in Metro Detroit without the need for a private vehicle. Trips to vaccine centers, which began on March 10, are door-to-door, and are available weekdays and on weekends. SMART was able to use Via’s flexible transit platform to adjust and expand the SMART Flex service area for vaccination trips as more vaccine sites opened throughout the region. To date, SMART has provided more than 500 rides for residents to get their vaccination.