Transit Agency Pilots Microtransit Service, Santa Cruz County, CA, 2021
5 minutes Date Launched: Apr 19, 2021 Pilot Project Timeframe: 1 year
Credit: Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District
The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (METRO) has announced a microtransit pilot, with an expected timeline of about one year. Called Cruz On-Demand, customers can request point-to-point rides if their ride begins and ends within .75 miles of any METRO fixed-bus route, excluding Highway 17 and the campus of the University of California. Santa Cruz. Rides, which are available between 8 AM and 5 PM everyday, can be requested up to 24 hours ahead of time by phone or app and are driven on vans by operators of METRO’s paratransit service. The maximum distance for a single ride is 3 miles, to encourage use of fixed-use transit for longer rides. Through September 15, 2021, fares amount to $2 for rides up to 2 miles; between 2 and 3 miles, fares are $3. The fare structure will be re-evaluated for after mid-September based on the performance of the pilot program.
Like most flexible on-demand microtransit services, Cruz On-Demand can provide conveniences not often provided by fixed-transit. That being said, elements placed into the design of the service appear to emphasize that Cruz On-Demand is intended to supplement METRO’s fixed bus routes. The minimum fare for Cruz On-Demand is double that of the fixed-route bus fare of $1 on METRO. Additionally, the three-mile distance limit and the limited operating hours help to reinforce that this program is meant for first-/last-mile purposes. When designing a flexible microtransit service, it is important to consider how it will exist in relation to other parts of a transportation network including fixed route transit.