Bringing Clean and Safe Microtransit to a Border Town with Calexico On Demand, Calexico, CA
5 minutes Author: Shared-Use Mobility Center Date Launched/Enacted: Dec 12, 2023 Date Published: December 20, 2023
Credit: Shared-Use Mobility Center
The Clean Mobility Options is a statewide public program that empowers under-resourced communities across California to better understand and overcome mobility obstacles with vouchers for funding community needs assessments and clean, shared, zero-emission transportation projects. The Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) is one of the three administrator teams that provide technical assistance in the implementation of Mobility Voucher Projects.
Watch a video featuring Calexico Mayor Raul Ureña and Imperial County Transportation Commission Executive Director David Aguirre to learn more about how Calexico is utilizing Clean Mobility Options funding to introduce the city’s inaugural zero-emission microtransit program Calexico On Demand. Credit: SUMC
The Imperial County Transportation Commission (ICTC), in collaboration with Via, is utilizing Clean Mobility Options funding to introduce the city’s inaugural zero-emission microtransit program. The Calexico On Demand is an innovative program that includes four plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and aims to provide transportation services to seniors, low-income residents, and youth. Through the microtransit initiative, residents will access a clean and safe travel option, improving the community’s quality of life and expanding affordable travel opportunities. The program is also crucial in addressing chronic air quality issues and mitigating climate change.
ICTC supports this pilot with a $1,498,875 grant from the Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot Program. Calexico On Demand is an opportunity for the city to test a new shared mobility solution, as the city currently lacks a fixed-route intracity transit system. This pilot hopefully can lay a foundation for expanding shared mobility and transit services in this border community in the near future.
Calexico is a city in southern Imperial County, California, bordering the larger city of Mexicali, Mexico. With a population of 38,500, Calexico forms part of the larger populated area known as the Imperial Valley. Calexico is one of the largest ports of entry on the south US border with Mexico. Thousands of people commute daily to the US and back to Mexico for school or work, which leads to high border traffic.
With average temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer, ICTC continues to expand public transit infrastructure for its permanent and seasonal resident populations. The City of Calexico has chronic air quality problems. Calexico Mobility On Demand will provide a clean and safe travel option, improving quality of life and increasing opportunities for residents by expanding affordable, on demand travel options while reducing health-harming and planet-warming pollution.
In the initial months of operation, Calexico On Demand experienced an impressive ridership, reaching approximately 200 passengers daily. The service has maintained a robust ridership, averaging between 160 to 180 passengers daily.
Customers can book their rides in real-time using a smartphone app or by phone. The service has a fleet of four electric vans that can seat up to six passengers at a time. The microtransit service operates from 6 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday, ensuring accessibility during crucial hours for residents. Rides were provided free of charge to encourage initial adoption. Following this period, standard single-ride fares were set at $2, with a $1 discount available for individuals with disabilities and those aged 55 or older.
Customers can pay their fares conveniently through the Calexico On Demand app using credit or debit cards. Alternatively, exact cash payments are accepted directly on the microtransit vehicle. This versatile approach caters to a broad spectrum of passengers, enhancing the service’s inclusivity.
Via, the chosen technology vendor, plays a pivotal role in facilitating the seamless booking, routing, and payment processes for Calexico On Demand. This strategic partnership has contributed to the efficiency and user-friendliness of the service.
Calexico On Demand strategically focuses on key destinations within its service area, including a port of entry, a college campus, shopping districts, a library, and multiple high and middle schools. This deliberate selection ensures that the service addresses the community’s diverse needs.
Calexico On Demand has reshaped the city’s transportation landscape, offering a potential solution to reduce traffic congestion across the border. As authorities anticipate a ripple effect across Imperial County, this pilot program sets the stage for expanding shared mobility and transit services. The success of Calexico Mobility On Demand underlines the transformative impact of innovative transportation solutions in enhancing community well-being and fostering a sustainable environment.