Public Transit GM Q&A: How are you solving the first/last mile issue?

Posted on May 9, 2017

What are you doing to solve the first, last mile issue?

Paul Comfort, Administrator/CEO
Maryland Transit Administration
As part of BaltimoreLink, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is partnering with Baltimore City to install BikeShare at 11 MDOT MTA rail stations, primarily in the downtown business district. In addition, we’re coordinating with the city to have carsharing services at several of our stations. As part of our MARC Train commuter rail service, we currently offer weekend bike-car service and soon will offer weekday bike-car service between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.


Kenneth A. McDonald, President/CEO
Long Beach Transit
Long Beach, Calif.
Long Beach Transit (LBT) is conducting a comprehensive operations analysis that takes an in-depth look into current transit operations, including customer needs and amenities. LBT serves a dense urban area comprised of 13 cities across 100 square miles. Traditionally, LBT has not creatively served residential neighborhoods. Recognizing the need to get people from origins to destinations, LBT is committed to using smaller, zero-emission buses to provide responsive, neighborhood-friendly transit service that is flexible and timely.


Katharine Eagan, CEO
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority
Tampa, Fla.
HART is changing the way we look at public transportation by rolling out a powerful collaboration between HART and the private sector. Tampa Electric Co. (TECO), Northern Technologies Group, Nitro Solutions, Diamond View Studios, Lighting Capital Consulting LLC., Panther International, Landmark Properties, and Tampa Entrepreneur Roberto Torres partnered to fund an exciting initiative to lease Tesla Model X SUVs and usher in the future of public transportation in Tampa Bay. HART is proud to lease these cutting-edge vehicles and move the needle forward to bring this innovation to our community, which will be powered by TECO energy. These state-of-the-art, fully-electric vehicles hit the streets of Tampa’s USF area for the HART HyperLINK Service — a ridesharing solution to get you to your

HART-designated stop, known in the industry as the first-mile/last-mile challenge.
The partnership HART formed with the private sector and Transdev has enabled us to enrich the connection our customers have to their daily lives. Here at HART, we understand the value in these types of collaborations, especially when they serve as an added benefit for our customers.


Michael A. Hursh, GM
Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District
Oakland, Calif.
Most Bay Area residents support public transit. East Bay residents, in particular, overwhelmingly support AC Transit. In fact, last November Alameda County voters approved an extension of the existing parcel tax to ensure the viability of our transit network. As a steward of the public’s trust, one of my core commitments to our riders are first mile/last mile solutions. So in March, AC Transit launched AC Transit Flex. Flex is a one-year pilot program that gives our riders the power to determine when, where, and the time of their pick-up and drop-off. It’s an affordable and accessible first mile/last mile solution. If Flex is successful, AC Transit wants to roll out this model throughout South Alameda County. Flex would replace infrequent and inefficient fixed-route service and could connect low-density residential neighborhoods and office parks with BART stations. Other first mile/last mile solutions include: All-Nighter (Owl) Service and Transbay Service. Owl and Transbay services are available in residential neighborhoods, operate along trunk corridors, and eliminate first mile/last mile needs for these areas.


Matt Carpenter, CEO
Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide)
Ann Arbor, Mich.
TheRide has taken many proactive steps to address first/last mile issues. We partner with the local bikeshare program and provide bike racks on our buses to help bicycle commuters. Our mobility management program coordinates transportation between individuals and operators, countywide. We continually review services to ensure our community has accessible public transportation options. Making improvements to our routes, as needed, and piloting new demand-responsive services also creates better transit alternatives for our area.


Darrell Johnson, CEO
Orange County Transportation Authority
Orange County, Calif.
The key is truly understanding the varying needs of all 34 cities we serve. OCTA is fortunate to have a half-cent sales tax for transportation and a program dedicated to funding local projects that enhance community connectivity. Two examples include the planned OC Streetcar, our first modern electric streetcar in the densest part of the county that will connect passengers to commuter rail and our busiest bus lines; and, in San Clemente, we have teamed up with the City and Lyft for an on-demand service to connect passengers to their destinations more efficiently. This summer, we will enhance our mobile bus app to directly link riders to Lyft and other service providers to make that last-mile link easier.


Michael A. Terry, President/CEO
Our vision is to create a Community Mobility System (CMS) by establishing a public-private partnership that will change how people get access to jobs, medical care, education, and other necessary daily activities without a personal vehicle in Central Indiana.

The system will be initially designed to serve veterans, employees needing to get to work, immigrants, high school, and university students, as well as visitors and others without a personal vehicle. Such a system will first and foremost reduce barriers to opportunity by allowing those without the means to own a car to get to work or school at any point in the city in a reasonable amount of time. In addition, it will attract more talent as Indianapolis emerges as one of the newly-defined 18-hour cities, offering cultural and sports attractions, plenty of job opportunities, and amenities of big city living without the huge price tag.

CMS will incorporate available public transit; shared mobility services, such as BlueIndy and Pacers’ Bikeshare; and a variety of private transportation providers to prepare the city and region for transportation modes of tomorrow. It will minimize friction by utilizing technology, such as cloud computing, smart phones, and cashless payment, as well as coordinate the physical, real-world part of the journey and partner with philanthropic organizations.

The first phase of the project will define the need, catalog the region’s public and private transportation-related assets, identify potential sources of funding, evaluate available market solutions, and determine next steps.


Linda S. Watson, President/CEO
Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Austin, Texas
Capital Metro is working on numerous approaches to the first/last mile dilemma. We are currently updating our app to include multimodal trip planning. Last month, we participated in an autonomous shuttle demo that could eventually bring riders to/from transit stations. Next month we will launch on-demand transit services, allowing riders to catch a ride to a transit station or to their final destination. And finally, we are planning mobility innovation zone services that may include on-demand, partner services, or flex routes, connecting to the larger network.

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