For Immediate Release: Pilot Ride Share Service to Measure Demand for Future Bus Route
FITCHBURG (Wisconsin) Nov. 15, 2017 The City of Fitchburg has contracted with Richwood Transport LLC, and is launching a new transportation option within the city. The Fitchburg Ride Share Pilot Program features a new shared ride service utilizing contracted drivers, in personal or company vehicles, to take riders between any of the city's 93 Metro bus stop locations, commercial centers, parks, library and the city's Senior/Community Center. This service will start on December 1, 2017.
The new service will be a hybrid ride-share/fixed route, like a cross between conventional bus and the Uber/Lyft model. Importantly, it will allow the City to gather data and gauge demand for additional future Metro bus service within the city limits as an express, or East-West circulator.
The pilot program is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To match Metro Transit fares, riders will pay a flat fee of $2 (minors, disabled riders, and riders over 65 years $1) per ride. Standard stop locations include all 93 bus stops, City Center Campus/Senior Center, McKee Farms Park, McGaw Park and the Metro Transit's South Transfer Point. For an additional $2, riders can be picked up at their front door or other location within the city limits. Similarly, $2 will be charged if a rider wants to be dropped at a residence or other non-standard stop location that is within the city limits. Transport outside the city's urban service boundary will be charged a per mile fee. Exact fare is required. For more information on the program visit the city website, www.fitchburgwi.gov or Richwoodtransport.com/Fitchburg-rideshare.
Wisconsin-based Richwood Transport was selected through an RFP process, due to their ability to meet the following criteria:
- Accept cash payments
- Provide a dedicated dispatch and call center
- Are equipped with a fleet of vehicles that are handicap accessible
- Offer flexibility in program design as needed to meet riders' needs, and
- Are a low priced provider with no minimum fare (beyond the $2 'fare box')
Background: In 2015, consultants to the City of Fitchburg conducted a Transit Feasibility Study Transit Plan to look at the viability of incorporating a new transit route that would operate solely within the City. Alternatives included the recommendation of developing a demand base of customers through the use of hybrid services other than Madison's fleet of full-size Metro buses.
In 2016, after a $155,000 proposal to add a new east-west Metro bus service failed to pass, the City Council voted to authorize a $62,000 pilot expenditure to utilize the increasingly popular ride sharing scheme. This design was seen as offering greater flexibility than fixed route transit and more control over how many seats to offer in response to hourly demand.
If the ride share program is deemed to be beneficial and has adequate ridership during the pilot, the city may seek to incorporate a new Metro Transit bus fixed route service.
About Richwood Transport: Richwood Transport specializes in nonemergency medical transportation services and works with municipalities to offer customizable ride share programs. Richwood can replace or update a current system or help deliver a dependable on demand program. Services offered connect out of town residents to the local bus systems or even provide a safe ride via door-to-door services.
Matthew Jones, Project Consultant
Green Park Planning Associates
For more information about the City of Fitchburg's Ride Share Pilot Program: http://www.fitchburgwi.gov/223/PublicTransportation-Services
For more information about Richwood Transport LLC: www.richwoodtransport.com/fitchburg-rideshare