Rural Virginia Transit Agencies Pilot Microtransit Services, Gloucester and Wise Counties, VA 2021
5 minutes Date Launched: Jun 28, 2021 Pilot Project Timeframe: 18 months
Credit: Bay Transit
Bay Transit and Mountain Empire Older Citizens are piloting point-to-point microtransit services for an 18-month period through a partnership with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation called the Virginia Microtransit Deployment Initiative. Respectively called Bay Transit Express and METGo!, these pilots are supported through two funding sources: an Integrated Mobility Innovation (IMI) grant of $160,930 from the Federal Transit Administration and another approximately $68,000 from Virginia’s Innovation and Technology Transportation Fund. Both agencies will use their own vehicles and drivers for these pilots while using routing software from Via, a transportation technology company. Customers can request rides by phone or through agency-specific apps, developed by Via. Passengers are then directed to a nearby location, called a virtual bus stop, where they will be picked up in a minibus vehicle that can be shared with passengers from other parties. Rides are fare-free on METGo! and cost $2 on Bay Transit Express. On Bay Transit Express, fares can be paid via credit or debit card in the app or in cash on board. Service hours are from 8 AM to 3 PM, Monday through Friday, on Bay Transit Express and from 7 AM to 5 PM , Monday through Friday, on METGo!.
These first two projects in the Virginia Microtransit Deployment Initiative are helping policymakers determine the utility of demand-responsive transportation services in rural communities. Bay Transit Express and METGo! are designed to more efficiently transport customers, who might not have easy access to cars, to important destinations like grocery stores and hospitals. Depending on the success of these pilots, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation hopes that mobility on demand services can become a more permanent fixture in the commonwealth’s transportation ecosystem.