This new transit experiment is a cross between Uber and the bus

This new transit experiment is a cross between Uber and the bus

So we’re on a race. Our goal is to get from downtown to a park that’s not super close to any major transit hubs But a new mobility experiment maybe changing the transportation game. I’m taking a Lyft. I’m taking transit the whole way. and I’m taking something… that’s a little bit of both… a publicly-funded ride-hailing service Got one! Salvador is coming in one minute We’re here in the transit tunnel. Trying to get out of this traffic… traffic – traffic. We are still stuck in traffic The traffic is gone. We’re moving and hopefully… beat everyone else. The bus is 13 minutes away. We passed Miyo at the bus stop We just dropped off the other passenger in the car, I’m calling our friends on the bus They are 6 or 7 minutes away they say – no I’m speaking to the camera. I think we’re less than 10 minutes from Seward Park I’m at Seward Park and I don’t see anyone else Ok, I’m gonna take a step back and explain why we did this Transit is great for the environment but in some neighborhoods, like this one, there just aren’t many options. Now, some cities are looking to ride hailing models for solutions So can it work? Seattle’s transit agency is trying to do that by making its own version of Uber… sort of. In certain neighborhoods the city is offering ride shares to and from light rail stations So you can use your bus pass – to hail a Via (It’s the company the city’s partnering with) to get to a transit hub it’s a year-long pilot funded by an experimental federal grant and It’s a novel solution to a few big transit problems The last mile problem has to do with that final leg of the commute from the bus stop to your final destination. If they’re too far apart that’s a big disincentive to using public transit. Uber and Lyft tout themselves as a last mile solution, taking you from the station to your doorstep but more often they’re just replacing trips altogether. Take San Francisco – most Uber and Lyft trips happen downtown at peak hours. That means they’re adding to the worst rush-hour traffic at the best time for public transit access They’re creating more problems than they’re solving Seattle’s trying to solve the last mile problem by targeting neighborhoods with fewer public transit options to begin with The Rainier Valley is in South Seattle. It’s a little lower income and more racially diverse than the rest of the city. It’s got a light rail line, but not many local buses. Just look at the number of bus connections in South Seattle and compare that with say the University of Washington station. “There aren’t connections for people to use light rail it connected the airport to downtown.” “It didn’t think about who lives in the Rainier Valley.” – Jessica Ramirez, Puget Sound Sage Transit officials figured this is where a last mile fix could make a difference. “You can see that where bus service is maybe not as robust That we’re getting higher ridership there.” The hope is that more transit access will drum up more light rail ridership for the whole community. Even if you do decide to take an Uber or lyft to a transit station, it’s usually a trip for one and doesn’t actually take any cars off the road. But with Seattle’s Via program carpool mode is always on and they control the number of drivers on the road to match the number of customers. One driver told me that during rush hour. It’s kind of like driving a mini bus route Uber and Lyft drivers spend a lot of time cruising around looking for passengers. It’s called deadheading – which, despite the name, has nothing to do with Jerry Garcia. Anyway, they spend a lot of time deadheading. Like half their time in some cities That means a lot of empty cars driving around for no reason Seattle’s program tries to fix that in a few ways for one It’s a smaller market. The trips are shorter So you don’t have to drive a long way between busy locations? Also, the routing software makes people walk a few blocks to meet the car so the car doesn’t have to drive further than it has to. Transit agencies around the country are scrambling to get more riders balancing carbon with convenience. So if the program can actually expand light rail access that could be a big deal and a lesson for other cities or maybe they could use the programs data to design better bus routes at the end of the day this program exists because Transit wasn’t accessible for everyone “Via is… filling a gap. and I think future transportation infrastructure shouldn’t need Via if it’s done right. But all around the country people

9 thoughts on “This new transit experiment is a cross between Uber and the bus

  1. I think we need to invest more in publicly-funded microtransit. This is the perfect video discussing it!

  2. Cities need more protected bike lanes that would encourage people to ride ebikes.
    Bicycles, ebikes, scooters and walking are all great options for the last mile commute.
    No emissions. No noise. Better for people and the planet. Bicycles need to be bigger part of the transportation mix.

  3. 1:37 transit + first-/last-mile ride-sharing to hopefully displace all-car trips – reduce gratuitous driving, traffic. 4:08 dead-heading: up to 50% of ride-sharing cars driving around empty waiting for fare rides.

  4. I use this everyday to get to work and home – it gets me to the light rail – it's a wonderful service. Before, I used a bike or car share as my house is over a mile away from the rail. I use my company paid Orca card and it very convenient. I hope it continues for along time.

    Quite hilarious because this is almost my exact route. DT Seattle to home in Columbia City which is just west of Seward Park

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