Microtransit – Gone but Maybe Not Forever
Our experiment with on-demand transit service came to a close on Feb. 5. The pilot program has yielded some interesting data – and a strong reason to explore ways to keep this unique service going as a new mode of service. HRT OnDemand was available in two select regions – Newport News and Virginia Beach – from July 2022 to February 2023. It allowed customers within two designated service zones to request a shared ride using a smartphone app. The data showed 26,258 total ride requests in Newport News, and 13,037 in Virginia Beach. Both cities showed higher demand in the afternoons. Those numbers should not be ignored. While funding is always a challenge when considering service expansion, Hampton Roads Transit is exploring short- and long-term funding options and next steps in exploring OnDemand as a new mode of service.
These are the areas where the service was supplied.
The goal was to explore how on-demand transportation can be used to expand the region’s access to flexible, equitable mobility, and make it easier for residents to connect with existing public transit options.
The data showed 26,258 total ride requests in Newport News, and 13,037 in Virginia Beach. Both cities showed higher demand in the afternoons.
- Accounts were created by downloading the Hampton Roads Transit OnDemand app from the App Store or Google Play store and following the simple signup steps.
- Customers were encouraged to book a ride by entering their pickup and drop-off addresses. They chose the ride that worked best for them. They also could book online, making sure they tapped the wheelchair icon if it was needed.
- Customers checked the app to find out exactly where to meet the vehicle, which may be a short walk from the address provided. They then met the driver.