South San Francisco, CA May 6, 2019 Submitted by Dan Lieberman, SamTrans
SamTrans OnDemand Service Launches in Pacifica
SamTrans OnDemand allows riders to request a trip through an iOS or Android smartphone app operated by Via, or through the SamTrans Customer Service Call Center. Once a trip is booked, a shuttle is routed to the pickup location and can be tracked through the app in real-time.
SamTrans modeled the service on a concept known as microtransit, where smaller vehicles are dynamically routed in real-time using a technology platform and passenger app. The Via algorithm matches multiple passengers headed the same way, creating a highly affordable, convenient, and premium bus service, while keeping trip durations similar to a private taxi. The algorithm’s smart routing allows passengers to be picked up and dropped off in an endless stream, without taking riders out of their way to accommodate other passengers.
Services similar to this are being launched throughout California in less dense areas that do not have the population base to sustain traditional bus routes. SamTrans officials identified Linda Mar and conversion of the FLX Pacifica Route as a good test case to see if microtransit could be effectively implemented as a part of the suite of SamTrans services.
“SamTrans OnDemand is an innovative service that will better serve Pacifica residents by providing a flexible and affordable transportation option,” said SamTrans Chief Planning Officer April Chan. “If this way of delivering service works well, we hope to extend this to other neighborhoods in San Mateo County that can take advantage of this service.”
“Pacifica has unique challenges regarding transportation that result in congested roads and needless stress,” said Pacifica Mayor Sue Vaterlauss. “SamTrans OnDemand offers an alternative that will appeal to students, seniors and people that want options beyond owning a car.”
“Via’s powerful technology is redefining mobility across the globe, seamlessly integrating with public transit infrastructure to provide on-demand dynamic transportation solutions,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “We are delighted to be partnering with SamTrans to help Pacifica lead the way in mobility innovation through the launch of this convenient, affordable, and eco-friendly service.”
About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 70 routes throughout San Mateo County. Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.
About Via: Via is a leading provider and developer of on-demand shared mobility solutions, working with cities and transportation agencies around the world to connect more people to transit. Via has partnered with some of the world’s largest public transit agencies to solve pressing transportation needs including Los Angeles Metro, Singapore’s Land Transportation Authority, Transportation for London, and Berlin’s Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe.