What is Mobility On-Demand?
The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) has the exciting opportunity to provide regional transit access to neighborhoods that have not had access to public transportation in the past. SORTA is developing Metro On-Demand (MOD) to provide accessible, on-demand, localized mobility for all, including connections to Metro's network of more than 40 fixed bus routes.
How is this different from existing Metro bus service?
Currently, Metro provides two types of bus service: fixed routes with predetermined stops and destinations and on-demand, shared-ride paratransit service (Access) for people with disabilities that prevent them from using Metro fixed-route service.
With Mobility On-Demand, Metro aims to offer an additional on-demand option that is more flexible and aims to cater more closely to customers' individual needs when one of our existing fixed routes is not practical or accessible.
How will MOD work?
Metro is exploring three potential models for this new, on-demand service:
• Flex Route — The transit vehicle maintains a schedule along with a series of defined bus stops and serves off route locations within the zone upon advanced request.
• Point-to-Point — Think of this option like a rideshare service, such as Uber or Lyft: The transit vehicle provides curb-to-curb service for pick up and drop off locations within a defined zone through advance requests via phone call or app.
• Anchored point-to-point — A variation of point-to-point service where, upon request, a passenger is picked up at any location within the MOD area and is then taken to fixed-route bus stops, medical centers, shopping areas or other points of interest within the MOD zone; or, alternatively, a passenger is picked up from a point of interest within the MOD zone and dropped off at a location of their choosing.
Where will MOD be available?
The goal of MOD is to provide connectivity and access to public transportation where Metro's fixed-route service is limited or not feasible due to population density or vehicle size limitations.
As part of its service design study, Metro will engage communities throughout its service area to identify up to 10 potential neighborhoods that would benefit from and be conducive to on-demand mobility services. Four to five neighborhoods will then be prioritized and recommended for initial pilots.
As part of its data-gathering process, Metro conducted an online survey in October and November, where members of the community can provide feedback on the program and how it could meet their transportation needs.
When will MOD service come online?
MOD is currently in the service design phase, which includes gathering feedback from stakeholders and communities who would benefit from on-demand mobility services.
The public can participate in Metro's online survey now through Nov. 30, 2021. SORTA and its consultants plan to engage the public directly through a series of virtual and in-person public meetings in February 2022.
Following those meetings, final recommendations will be presented to the Metro administration and the SORTA Board of Trustees for consideration.
Metro is planning a series of public meetings in February 2022 to present service designs to the communities that will receive pilot Mobility On-Demand service. Please check back soon for more details.