Last fall, we introduced on-demand transportation to customers of THE RIDE, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) paratransit service. After delivering 10,000 successful rides to paratransit passengers through this program, we’re excited to expand our partnership with the MBTA to every customer of THE RIDE.
We launched this partnership to increase transportation access to passengers with disabilities, and based on early results announced by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, the program is doing just that. Passengers who participated in the pilot saved an average of 34-minutes on every trip, while the MBTA saved 71% on the cost of each trip. Between October 2016 and February 2017, the MBTA reduced the overall cost of THE RIDE program by 6% — all while increasing the number of rides taken.
“The success of this partnership with rideshare companies is changing lives and improving reliability for the MBTA’s paratransit customers who rely on THE RIDE for their daily travels. We are proud the MBTA is expanding this program to all users of THE RIDE, and providing individuals with disabilities greater flexibility and convenience that many of us may take for granted.”
—Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, February 2017
Our expanded partnership with the MBTA reflects an exciting step toward developing a more efficient model for paratransit programs everywhere. Traditionally, paratransit is one of the most expensive public transportation services, and agencies typically cover most of the cost for these rides.
In 2014, one-way trips on THE RIDE cost the MBTA $49.88 per ride. With demand on the rise, transit agencies across the country are looking for a better way to manage costs. Ridesharing offers an affordable solution to this challenge.
And most importantly, customers of THE RIDE are enjoying the convenience and flexibility of ridesharing. That means shorter wait times, the freedom to choose when and where to ride, and increased access to community for every customer of THE RIDE.
“I love the ability to book rides at any time and not have to worry about scheduling the day before. Lyft also has really nice drivers who make the rides fun. It has made a gigantic increase in the quality of my life. I love it!”
—THE RIDE Pilot Program Customer, Lyft user survey, February 2017
The success of the Lyft-MBTA partnership model shows that by offering access to on-demand transportation, transit agencies may be able to meet the population’s growing mobility needs without bearing unsustainable costs.