Post Content

20160916_144411

On the campus of the Perkins School for the Blind, Governor Baker, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, and MBTA managers launched a first-of-its-kind innovative pilot program with ride-share companies Uber and Lyft to save costs and deliver more options for on-demand service to customers of the MBTA’s THE RIDE through their smartphones.

“The reliability of our transportation system depends on the MBTA’s ability to improve its core infrastructure and provide efficient, innovative transit options that meet the needs of the system’s one million daily riders,” said Governor Baker. “This initiative represents the MBTA’s efforts to increase accessibility in a more cost-effective and efficient way that also delivers more convenient service for its paratransit customers.”

As reported by the Boston Globe‘s Nicole Dungca, Brian Shortsleeve, the MBTA’s acting general manager, said the program will “drive the conversation nationally” about modern transit services for customers with disabilities. Most major public transit agencies are required to provide customers with disabilities door-to-door van services.

“Customers are going to get reduced fares, much shorter wait times,” he said. “And the MBTA is going to get a much lower operating cost on these trips.”

mbta-theride-uber

The On-Demand Paratransit Pilot Program will allow the MBTA to learn and understand the opportunities and challenges of incorporating on-demand paratransit options into public transit, and follows a program launched in January with multiple Boston-area taxi providers to subsidize trips for RIDE users via cab. Customers unable to use a smartphone or without access to one can book rides by using a phone-in option from Lyft or obtain a smart phone from Uber on a limited basis.

“We are honored to be working with the MBTA to improve convenient and reliable transportation options for their customers, our riders,” said Uber Boston General Manager, Chris Taylor. “Uber’s technology has helped expand access to convenient transportation options, while improving mobility and independence for thousands of people across the Commonwealth,”

The pilot is also part of the MBTA’s efforts to deliver more efficient and cost-effective service. Current RIDE service comes at a variable cost of $31 to the MBTA, a $3.15 set fare for customers and a minimum of one day advance notice required. Ride-share pilot participants will have on-demand service available via their smartphone app or the phone-in option and pay the first $2.00 of the trip. The MBTA will pick up the next $13.00 of the trip, with the customer picking up any remaining trip costs.

“Lyft is proud to bring on-demand transportation to customers of The RIDE,” said Tyler George, General Manager of Lyft Boston. “This partnership with the MBTA marks an exciting next step in enhancing and expanding The RIDE’s service by reducing passenger wait times and increasing access to jobs, education, errands, and social activities.”

20160916_142013

More from the Globe:

The advent of the new program was welcomed by Gina Russo, a Medford resident who is blind and uses a wheelchair. With the Ride, her driver once took three hours to get from Watertown to Boston.

She’s starting using Uber more often, she said, and it has been much quicker, she said.

“They’re just always doing some new things that are helpful to someone being blind like me,” she said. “I can’t just jump in the car and go anywhere anytime I want. At least, I couldn’t, until Uber.”

Pollack said she hopes the program will alleviate the many problems with accessibility that people with disabilities face. As the sister of someone who was born with several disabilities, she said she knew that people who use the Ride just want what everyone else wants: reliable transportation and independence.

“Use it, enjoy it, live the life that all of you want to live,” she told the crowd.

Written By:

Tags: , , , , , ,

Recent Posts

Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito: Infrastructure investments strengthen our communities and economy posted on Jul 25

Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito: Infrastructure investments strengthen our communities and economy

Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has injected $2.8 billion into highway infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges, intersection and sidewalk improvements, and bike lanes. Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, MassDOT Secretary Pollack, and Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver visited communities across the Commonwealth highlighting the   …Continue Reading Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito: Infrastructure investments strengthen our communities and economy

Where broadband internet changes everything posted on Jul 5

Where broadband internet changes everything

In May 2017, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Berkshire County leaders to tour downtown small businesses that are benefiting from upgrades made by Charter Communications and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute’s (MBI) Last Mile Infrastructure Grant Program. The program and investments in broadband   …Continue Reading Where broadband internet changes everything

Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito celebrate 150 Miles of new trails for walking and biking posted on Jun 29

Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito celebrate 150 Miles of new trails for walking and biking

Continuing to prioritize a high level of access to the Commonwealth’s natural resources, and recognizing the economic, recreational, environmental, transit and public health benefits of a state trail network, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito today announced additional funding commitments to further develop   …Continue Reading Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito celebrate 150 Miles of new trails for walking and biking