The SamTrans board awarded a contract to Transdev Services Inc. for on-demand microtransit services during its January meeting this week.
With microtransit, riders will be able to schedule trips using an app or calling the Customer Service Center. Pick-up arrival time is provided in real-time, just like ride-hailing apps. Trips must start and end in a defined zone.
The microtransit contract will serve communities in the East Palo Alto and Half Moon Bay zones to supplement changes to SamTrans bus service and will provide additional transportation options for those communities.
The effort of the two new microtransit zones are associated with Reimagine SamTrans, which was a nearly three-year effort to refresh the bus system with the goal of improving service and responding to changing ridership in San Mateo County.
The two zones were identified because they present different and unique challenges for fixed-route bus service. Some of these challenges include narrow streets, lack of street grid, gaps in the pedestrian network, traffic patterns clogging major arterials, off-peak/weekend traffic, and unique land uses/densities. The goal of the service is to mitigate such challenges by using flexible microtransit technology to provide public transit service in areas that are difficult to plan fixed route service.
The contract award is a critical milestone toward delivering this new service to two on-demand service areas. Service is anticipated to start this summer.