City Pilots Microtransit Service, Palo Alto, CA, 2023
5 minutes Date Launched: Mar 7, 2023 Pilot Project Timeframe: 18 months
Credit: City of Palo Alto
The City of Palo Alto has launched a new microtransit service, Palo Alto Link. Through this new service, customers can request shared curb-to-curb rides in real-time across much of the city using a smartphone app or by calling a central phone line. As a promotion, rides are fare-free until April 7th. After that, standard single-ride fares cost $3.50, with $1 fares available to seniors, students, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities. Fares can be paid with cash or through the Palo Alto Link smartphone app. Customers can also purchase weekly or monthly passes for $20 and $65, respectively. These passes allow up to four daily rides on Palo Alto Link. Palo Alto Link has a fleet of ten vehicles, which include four Tesla electric cars, three wheelchair-accessible Toyota Siennas, and three more Toyota Siennas equipped with bike racks. The microtransit service operates from 8 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday. Via serves as the booking, payment, and routing technology partner for Palo Alto Link.
Palo Alto Link functions as a replacement for a city-operated shuttle service that stopped operations at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The City of Palo Alto can now support this service for 18 months through Measure B funding from the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). Measure B revenue is generated through a ballot-approved sales tax to support transportation projects across Santa Clara County. Other communities in Santa Clara County have used Measure B funding to support their microtransit projects. The City of Palo Alto can use the 18-month pilot period to demonstrate whether Palo Alto Link connects residents and visitors to key destinations like the downtown Caltrain stop, the Stanford Research Park, other work locations, shopping destinations, and parks.