The Rapid, in partnership with Via, has deployed Rapid On Demand. This is a six-month, app-based pilot program to test the feasibility of on-demand ridesharing as a public transportation solution for seniors and persons with disabilities.
Riders with GO!Bus eligibility can utilize this free app if they live and travel within the pilot project’s service area, which spans from downtown Grand Rapids to the southeastern portion Grand Rapids and Kentwood. Rapid On Demand provides same-day rides to individuals with a wait time of 15 minutes or less.
“At The Rapid, our goal is to continuously improve mobility options in West Michigan,” said 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 utilize typical ride-hailing solutions.”
The Rapid received the $373,782 in grant funding for this pilot program through the Michigan Mobility Challenge. This is initiative is funded through $8 million state legislative appropriation in 2018 to use technology and innovation to address core mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities, and veterans across the state. The grant aims to improve rider experience by shortening the trip duration and reservation lead time. This will allow riders to book trips on the same day and to spend less time on the bus. The Rapid’s project team consists of the City of Grand Rapids, Disability Advocates of Kent County, and global on-demand mobility provider 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.”
Via has been tapped by cities and transportation players around the world to help re-engineer public transit from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand network. Via now has nearly 80 launched and pending deployments in 20 countries.
“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 program,” said Laura St. Louis, Community Organizer 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.”
How Rapid On Demand works:
Using the Rapid On Demand app, GO!bus-eligible passengers in the pilot service area spanning from downtown Grand Rapids and the greater southeastern Grand Rapids area, will select their pickup and drop-off locations and confirm their ride. All trips must start or end within the pilot service area. Via’s smart algorithm enables multiple riders to seamlessly share a single paratransit vehicle through curbside pick-ups for quick and efficient travel. Trips cost just $3.50 and the fare can be paid through the app or using cash or a GO!Bus ticket.