The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) in Massachusetts and global transportation technology company, Via, have formed a public-private transit partnership to conduct a pilot project of an on-demand microtransit service. WRTA has received $459,430 in discretionary funding from MassDOT.
The project will replace the community shuttle the WRTA currently operates in Town of Westborough with a Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) model. Via uses advanced algorithms to enable multiple riders to seamlessly share a vehicle, working with cities and public transportation agencies around the world to connect more people to transit. Via has already partnered with some of the world’s largest public transit agencies to help solve transportation needs, including the Los Angeles Metro, Transport for London (TfL), Sydney’s Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), and Berlin’s Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG).
The technology directs 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.
Passenger benefits are expected to include:
- an on-demand service that allows for an easy switch from personal vehicle to the transit service;
- a coverage area of the entire town of Westborough vs. the existing fixed route network;
- a reduction in overall daily cost for commuters who are currently using the MBTA parking lots; and,
- an easier way to pay fares using mobile apps.
WRTA administrator, Dennis Lipka, said “We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Via and provide commuters with a new service in Westborough. It is important to give our riders access to the best service possible and we feel this partnership will do just that. This on-demand transit service will provide residents and employees much needed flexibility and ensure that there are affordable and convenient transportation options available.”