How RideCo Solves the First/Last Mile Challenge for Public Transit

RideCo
March 15, 2018
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4 minute read

People living in low-density urban environments often face challenges getting to and from high capacity, high frequency transit such as rail and arterial bus routes. This is called the first/last mile gap. This case study highlights the value of the RideCo platform through the operation of dynamically routed on-demand service in partnership with a public transit agency in a low-density environment.

Metrolinx, a public transit agency in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) partnered with RideCo to plan, launch, and operate an on-demand microtransit pilot, GO Connect. Riders booked rides using a mobile app or website on demand or days in advance. They were given a specific pickup and drop off time upon booking a ride. Vehicles were dynamically routed based on passenger locations. Riders shared their rides with others going in the same direction. The system constrained the sharing and journey times to ensure all riders arrived at their destination by the promised drop off time. The objective was to improve access to the local GO Transit station and reduce reliance on an over capacity parking lot.

Here’s How the RideCo Platform Helped the Transit Agency and Its Commuters

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How RideCo improved service in the GTA

The end result is that commuters enjoyed a cost-effective, flexible, and reliable alternative to getting to and from the station.

Click here to view the full case study.

Download the PDF here.

Background and Challenge

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First/last mile access problems are the result of transit planner challenges and commuter frustrations

Advances in technology have now enabled a new form of transportation that makes fleets of small- and medium-sized vehicles dynamically routed, shared, and available on demand. This emerging transportation mode is called microtransit.

Public transit agencies around the world are launching microtransit pilots to evaluate how these services can effectively integrate into their transit networks and solve transportation access gaps in low-density areas.

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Some of the many requests for proposal for microtransit pilots around the world

RideCo is a pioneer in the microtransit space, having launched North America’s first and successful microtransit service with Metrolinx. The following case study shares how RideCo partnered with Metrolinx, a regional rail operator, to solve the first/last mile challenge with dynamically routed, on-demand, shared vans.

The response to the microtransit pilot was overwhelmingly positive for Metrolinx, Milton Transit, and commuters. According to a Metrolinx survey, rider satisfaction with the service was almost 90 per cent. The top five reasons riders chose the RideCo service were convenience, price, reliability, no access to a car, and trouble finding parking.

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Over 75% of riders rated the service 8 or above out of 10

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The top three reasons for using the pilot service included convenience, affordability, and reliability

Over 85 per cent of rides were shared, with majority of them at three or more riders. The average shared trip was 13 minutes, which is only an extra five minutes compared to a solo car ride.

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People sharing a RideCo trip with other riders

The net cost per ride to Milton Transit for the RideCo solution was 27 per cent less than the municipal bus and it also generated much higher cost recovery.

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Some of the many key performance indicators from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area service

In comparison to municipal bus services in the GTA, RideCo efficiency is substantially better.

The transit agencies responded to the results of the pilot overwhelmingly positively:

  • Metrolinx reaction: “The GO-Connect pilot … was well received and demonstrated the sort of solution that shows promise for first/last mile options at transit stations and to potentially offset demand for parking.”
  • Milton Transit reaction: “I believe we were able to demonstrate that there’s a demand for this type of public transportation solution and that partnerships, like the one formed for this project, are viable solutions that need to be explored for all services.”

Key takeaways for municipalities and rail operators is that the first/last mile challenge can be addressed cost effectively with a quick ramp-up period using microtransit. The unique RideCo solution helped to alleviate congestion at station parking lots, offered commuters a flexible and easy to use alternative to driving, and seamlessly integrated with the municipal transit system.

Click here to view the case study.

Download the PDF here.

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