Delaware Transit was one of 25 recipients that won the Federal Transit Administration’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) grant award. The goal is to improve accessibility, affordability and equity within the Georgetown community, which is home to the Perdue plant and other manufacturing and agricultural jobs making it an important economic hub for the state. The rural area is also identified as an Opportunity Zone, defined as an economically distressed community that may qualify for investment tax advantages. In partnership with Via Transportation Inc, the total grant award money of $317,692, will be used to pilot innovative software for DTC’s current fixed route and paratransit vehicles. This software will integrate trip planning, scheduling, booking and vehicle tracking into one application accessible via smartphone or phone call, converting current transit operators such as vans, cutaway buses, paratransit, and taxis (including Uber and Lyft drivers who are registered with the Office of Public Carriers) into an on-demand microtransit service. The on-demand service will facilitate first mile/last mile trip coordination to their existing fixed-route systems, increase frequency and flexibility as an alternative to the long headway of the fixed-route system bus service, and provide a more affordable option than the TNC services such as Uber and Lyft that many rely upon.
The pilot expected to launch in late spring 2021 and will last for 12 months.