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New network will see the transit agency upgrade its paratransit service with on-demand ride-hailing technology, as opposed to pre-scheduling days in advance.
On-demand public mobility solutions provider, Via, has introduced an on-demand paratransit service in Michigan.
The deployment in partnership with public transportation provider, The Rapid, is among the first paratransit services in the US to integrate with on-demand ride-sharing technology.
Called Rapid On Demand, the new network will see the transit agency upgrade its paratransit service with on-demand ride-hailing technology, as opposed to pre-scheduling days in advance.
Grand Rapids residents eligible for the city’s GO!Bus ADA paratransit programme can use the Rapid On Demand app, developed and powered by Via.
“We’re delighted to be working with The Rapid and partners to provide an affordable, convenient, and comfortable transportation solution for seniors and people with disabilities,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via.
“We have increasingly seen cities and towns ask how they can provide their residents with transportation that radically improves the customer experience, and yet still achieves the same environmental and congestion-reducing benefits of public transit.
“Via’s on-demand transit technology is that solution, and we are excited for GO!Bus to improve mobility for residents in the communities that need it most.”
Using the Rapid On Demand app, riders will be able to hail a shuttle directly from their smartphone. Via’s advanced algorithms will enable multiple riders to seamlessly share the vehicle.
“Rapid On Demand offers an exciting opportunity to provide same-day service that improves independence and customer experience to those who may not be able to utilise typical ride-hailing solutions”
The technology will direct passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.
“Our goal is to continuously improve mobility options in West Michigan,” added Andrew Johnson, CEO of The Rapid.
“Rapid On Demand offers an exciting opportunity to provide same-day service that improves independence and customer experience to those who may not be able to utilise typical ride-hailing solutions.”
Commuters can use the service by downloading the Rapid On Demand smartphone app, available on iOS and Android. Users can book rides anywhere within the service zone spanning from Downtown Grand Rapids to the south-eastern portion of Kentwood. There will be no charge to use the service at launch.
“On-demand public transit is revolutionary for our area, and we couldn’t be more excited about partnering to assist with the Rapid On Demand pilot programme,” said Laura St Louis, community organiser with Disability Advocates of Kent County.
“Riders are already sharing how easy it is to book a ride and get where they need to go with no fuss.”
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