Submitted by: Ben Schutzman, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
The RIDE, Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s (MBTA) paratransit service, provides door-to door, shared-ride transportation to eligible people who cannot always or ever use fixed-route transit (bus, subway, trolley) because of a physical, cognitive or mental disability. Many customers rely on The RIDE as a lifeline, but its shared rides can be long. The RIDE provides little flexibility to change one’s schedule. Moreover, the RIDE’s budget has grown from $50M in 2007 to $109M in 2017, a 118% increase over just the last decade. Expenses are expected to continue rising.
The MBTA’s solution was to launch a pilot with Uber and Lyft to provide paratransit services in lieu of the shared-ride model. Costs per trip have averaged $9 vs. the traditional RIDE per-trip cost of $59. Customers save money as well: a same-day trip on the traditional RIDE costs customers $5.25, but pilot costs average only $4.52 per trip. Additionally, customers save 34 minutes per trip and are offered scheduling flexibility. Pilot customers have expressed satisfaction with the service at a rate 7 times higher than the traditional RIDE.
Watch the clip below for more information: