Credit: Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS)
The Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) is expanding its mobility on demand (MOD) service, CARTS Now to Taylor after starting in Bastrop in December 2020. With CARTS Now, customers can request point-to-point shared van rides by phone or app, supported by Via, anywhere within the City of Taylor. Currently, rides on CARTS Now are fare-free as a promotion to the community. When more fully implemented, standard one-way fares on CARTS Now will amount to $2, with discounts available to seniors, youth, and people with disabilities and fare-free rides available to veterans for medical trips. Fares can be paid through the app or in cash when on board the CARTS Now vehicle. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the passenger capacity for CARTS Now is reduced and customers are required to wear face masks when on board.
As a community with an AllTransit™ score of 0.8/10, residents can benefit significantly from CARTS Now, especially if they do not own a personal vehicle. With this now being the second area in which this MOD service is now operating, it will be important to observe both how microtransit can benefit rural communities outside of Austin in the long term, especially if CARTS Now continues to expand.