The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has begun to accept proposals for a pilot project known as MicroTransit, by which service vans will circulate through different zones rather than operate on fixed routes, to pick up passengers at “virtual” bus stops within minutes of being summoned—a service arrangement not dissimilar to Uber and Lyft in its approach.
The goal, according to Chief Innovation Officer Joshua Schank as quoted by Forbes, is to transport multiple riders, especially in areas that are not well served by existing bus lines or need better options to get to rail stations.
Service providers including Uber, Lyft and Ford Motor Company’s Chariot are all expected to submit proposals to win the contract for the pilot program.
MicroTransit is expected to launch in 2018. Advocates see this as a potential answer to the first/last mile problem in a dense urban community such as greater Los Angeles.