The city of Arlington is nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas. Up to now, it's been the biggest city in the nation with no buses, reports CityLab.
Now, it is poised to become the first city in the United States to offer minibus rides exclusively. Earlier this month, it partnered with a New York start-up, Via, to offer on-demand minibus rides. These mini-shuttles will be six-seaters in a Mercedes mini-bus. Passengers will use the Via app to call for a ride or dial a call center for a $3 fare.
Arlington officials said its goal is to offer more coverage for less money than Max, the single, fixed-route bus line currently running between UT - Arlington and a commuter rail station near the DFW airport.
"Not only will it cover the area we're already serving, Via will get people to places Max was too limited to get close to," said Alicia Winkelblech, a planner at the city of Arlington.
Via will cover downtown and expand in phases to include entertainment centers, health care facilities and the commuter rail station near the airport. Via's hours will be determined by passenger demand during the one-year pilot.
Arlington becomes the first city to test microtransit service only. Will microtransit create demand for future fixed-route services? Officials say maybe, especially if transit planners carefully examine the data on where people want to go, even when that trip isn't served yet.
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