Sacramento Expands On-Demand Transit with Via SmaRT Ride

The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) has expanded the services offered by its 42-vehicle on-demand transit system in partnership with Via, a mobility solutions company.  Called SmaRT Ride, the network serves nine zones throughout Sacramento, California and is claimed to be the largest on-demand public transit system currently in existence in America.

Using a smartphone app or by calling or ordering online, customers are able to summon a public transit vehicle to pick them up. Via’s algorithms match up multiple riders to share the vehicle and direct passengers to a virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick-up and drop-off. This means fixed routes and schedules for the vehicles are not required. Following a ride request, the new SmaRT Ride app will provide passengers with an estimated pick-up time, track their bus in real-time, and be alerted when their ride is about to arrive. Passengers will also be alerted when their ride is about to reach their desired destination.

“We have seen great success with our other SmaRT Ride zones and we are excited to be able to provide this innovative mobility option to more communities,” said Henry Li, general manager/CEO, SacRT. “This expansion is a huge milestone for SacRT as we continue to explore new transit options and improve access and mobility for our riders.”

The service uses small shuttle buses which can easily maneuver on residential streets, and the vehicles are equipped to accommodate people with disabilities. Each trip costs $2.50 or $1.25 for seniors and people with disabilities. It’s free to ride with a youth’s RydeFreeRT pass or for all riders when traveling in groups of five.

As part of the SmaRT Ride expansion, SacRT also rolled out six electric SmaRT Ride shuttles, and have plans for three more in the next six months.

The new SmaRT Ride service is provided through Measure A funding, a half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, administered by Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA). SacRT was awarded a $12m grant by the STA to help expand micro-transit throughout the region.

Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via, said: “The all-new SmaRT Ride service is now the largest on-demand micro-transit project in the US, making it an excellent example of how public transportation and technology can work together to make a city smarter.”