L.A. Metro to debut ride-hailing service for short trips starting this summer

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board of directors voted Thursday in favor of starting a three-year project for ride-hailing services for short trips to six designated service zones.

The board approved a $29-million contract for the MicroTransit Pilot Project, which will be provided by RideCo Inc. It also approved nearly $8 million in funding for operational expenses and to hire 80 employees to operate the vehicles.

"Metro is keenly aware of the changing mobility needs of people trying to get around an increasingly congested Los Angeles County,'' Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Chair James Butts said. "This pilot project will allow us to test out a new mobility option that can meet those changing needs while still fulfilling our responsibility to reduce congestion and get cars off the road by using shared rides.''

 Metro officials said more than 50% of all trips in Los Angeles are short, solo trips using a private car service or driving alone. The pilot
program is designed reduce those trips, and the Metro vehicles can hold up to 10 passengers.

The pilot project will also expand ride-hailing technology to all public transit customers, including historically underserved communities and populations, along with areas of Los Angeles County where fixed-route bus or rail service is less frequent or unavailable, Metro officials said.

The MicroTransit will allow riders to plan entire trips, as well as their bus and train rides using real-time booking through a single mobile app, internet browser or Metro's call center.

Riders will be able to pay for the service by using their TAP card and TAP account, or with a debit, credit or prepaid credit card. 

Prices for the ride-hailing trips have not yet been determined for MicroTransit, but Metro officials said they plan to roll out the service in the Watts/Willowbrook zone in the summer. It will initially operate seven days a week and 12 hours a day.

Services will begin in the areas and times of:

--Summer: Watts/Willowbrook
--Fall: Northwest San Fernando Valley
--Winter: LAX/Inglewood
--Spring 2021: Highland Park/Eagle Rock/Glendale
--Summer 2021: Altadena/Pasadena/Sierra Madre
--Fall 2021: UCLA/VA Medical Center/Century City

Culver City Bus also plans to roll out MicroTransit service and will use the same regional platform established by Metro for transfers. MicroTransit staff will be continually adjusting the service based on demand and real-time results from data collected during its operation.

For more information, visit www.metro.net/projects/microtransit/.