Texas' Citibus, Neb.'s StarTran team with Spare to launch on-demand services

Posted on May 22, 2020

In April, StarTran, the public transit agency of Lincoln, Neb., introduced new commingled, door-to-door paratransit and microtransit to its users that cover the entire city. StarTran/Spare

Spare and Lubbock, Texas’ Citibus are launching a new on-demand transit service that will provide riders in the city with more accessible and streamlined public transit during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The new service is made up of both ADA paratransit and microtransit initiatives and will complement Lubbock’s existing fixed-route bus network.

The microtransit initiative, Citibus On-Demand, will provide a convenient, door-to-door public transit solution spanning the entire city center, while CitiAccess, the paratransit service, will similarly provide flexible door-to-door service that allows Lubbock residents with special needs to travel further and faster within the city than ever before.

The approach allows transit agencies to pool riders and resources across service categories.

In Lubbock’s case, this means that both Citibus On-Demand and CitiAccess will share the same fleet of up to 20 vehicles. This will help improve operational efficiencies for the agency, allow it to broaden its service reach, and create a more inclusionary environment. It also removes barriers between rider groups, including those with special needs who were previously confined to paratransit service only. 

The idea behind commingling comes from the aviation space, where multiple tiered passenger groups share the same airplane. Spare took that concept and applied it to on-demand public transit by enabling multiple rider types to benefit from the same public transport vehicle.

Citibus is second of these types of services powered by Spare to launch in the U.S. In April, StarTran, the public transit agency of Lincoln, Neb., introduced new commingled, door-to-door paratransit and microtransit to its users that cover the entire city.

Run by up to 10 vehicles, it can be hailed through the app from all VANLINK riders, as well as by phone for Handi-Van paratransit clients.

StarTran launched these two new services to compensate for reduced fixed-route schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide safe access to mobility for the entire local community throughout the crisis and beyond.

Both Citibus and StarTran’s services allow self-serve, on-demand bookings for the rider and automated scheduling, dispatching, and communications for the operator, using Spare’s complete software solution.

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