The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors voted Thursday to approve a six-month extension to its rides-hailing pilot program with the company Via.
The board also gave Metro CEO Phillip Washington the option to extend it another six months after that. It will also allow for an expansion of the program’s hours in all of its service zones and the addition of weekend service.
“We are encouraged by the results so far of this innovative pilot project in offering ride-sharing technology to underserved communities,” Washington said. “We’ll continue to evaluate this pilot to make sure that it’s meeting our goals of providing high-quality mobility options for all while also taking vehicles off the road.”
The program is intended to study ways to bring ride-hailing technology to low-income, disadvantaged riders and people with disabilities.
The pilot program will be given $2.2 million for the next six months, with another $2.7 million if extended for an additional six months. The program was launched in January 2019, funded in part by a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, according to Metro.
Metro officials said the program was $500,000 under budget in its first year, which will help extend service hours to 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and add weekend service from 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
The service areas for the program are:
–Metro’s North Hollywood Station,
–Metrolink’s Burbank Downtown Station
–Metrolink’s Burbank Airport South Station
–Metro’s El Monte Station and the Metrolink El Monte Station
–The Avalon C Line Station
–Willowbrook-Rosa Parks C Line
–A Line Station
–Long Beach Boulevard C Line Station
–Compton A Line Station
–Artesia A Line Station
Each ride must either begin or end at one of the service areas, and all rides are shared.
Metro officials said since launching, the service has provided more than 70,000 rides and exceeded its ridership goals. More than 1,000 riders have used Via’s call-in center, indicating that people without smartphones are using the service, Metro officials said. The service has provided more than 800 rides to passengers requiring special assistance or wheelchair accessibility at about a third of the cost to other transport.
More information on the program is available at www.metro.net/projects/mod/.
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