Michigan Flyer passengers are now able to reserve a Hytch-branded minivan to connect with their bus at the East Lansing Marriott, right from — or to —the door of their home, workplace, or another location in the Hytch service area. This also includes access for wheelchair users in one of the vehicles.
Hytch is already becoming popular with both local residents and out-of-town visitors as an alternative to driving a car, getting a ride from family or friends, or calling a taxi, according to the company’s press release.
“At present, the Hytch service area includes all business and residential addresses within a roughly four-mile radius of our East Lansing location,” says Michigan Flyer VP Ody Norkin. “Specifically, Hytch rides are available to or from Downtown Lansing, the Michigan State University campus, parts of Meridian Township, and more. And, if our Hytch pilot project continues to be a success with passengers, we may well expand the service area locally, as well as launch new Hytch service in Brighton and Ann Arbor.”
- Features of The New Hytch Service
- Key points about the new Hytch door-to-door service, include:
- Tickets are just $10 per person one way, and available only to Michigan Flyer passengers when booking their bus trips online.
- Passengers who book a Michigan Flyer bus trip that starts or ends in East Lansing, now see an option to add a Hytch minivan to or from the East Lansing Marriott. For a round trip, they can add a Hytch van to both legs of their trip.
- The Hytch vehicles — all with experienced drivers — are new-model, five-passenger, ride-share vans, one of which is provides wheelchair access.
- Travelers may share their Hytch ride with other Michigan Flyer passengers, and in so doing help reduce the pollution and traffic congestion caused by single-occupancy vehicles.
- Hytch rides are available Sunday through Friday from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m., but not on Saturday.
"Magic” Through the Website
With a sleek, modern design, the new website is fully “responsive “ so as to display correctly on all devices, from computers to smartphones. Over the next few months, it will also introduce important new functions that passengers are sure to appreciate. But for now, folks should know that some real technical magic behind the scenes on the website is what brings Hytch and Michigan Flyer together.
“It’s like a dream come true,” says Norkin, who’s spent a decade trying to find a way to bridge gaps in the transportation system and provide Michigan Flyer passengers with door-to-door service. “We’re especially happy to be able help senior citizens, veterans, and people with disabilities. For airport transfers, they can now use Hytch to access Michigan Flyer, and then connect with early-morning, low-fare flights out of Detroit Metro Airport. It’s a huge bonus, too, that Hytch enables out-of-town visitors of all kinds to reach family and friends, jobs, shopping, education and healthcare services, and major attractions in our area.”
The problem had been that the reservation systems of separate transportation companies could not “talk with” one another. The answer was to develop an “application programming interface” or API that enables passengers to book and pay for trips involving multiple carriers (e.g., Michigan Flyer and Hytch) on a single ticket for travel to their personal destinations across the metropolitan region.
Development of the API — which was partly funded by a competitive Michigan Mobility grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation — is what makes the Hytch on-demand service possible. It enables Michigan Flyer’s reservation system (provided by Turnit Ride) to coordinate with the Hytch reservation system (powered by our TransitTech partner Via, which brings together intelligent routing software, drivers, and vehicles) so that riders can seamlessly schedule bus and van trips on a single ticket.