Research Triangle Park, NC – GoTriangle is considering whether to replace four shuttles that travel fixed routes at fixed times around Research Triangle Park with on-demand service that would allow customers to use an app, computer or phone to summon a ride when it makes the most sense for them.
The GoTriangle Board of Trustees voted in September to move forward with a pilot program, which likely will launch in November and last through June 2018.
GoTriangle, which has been testing OnDemand software offered by TransLoc, surveyed customers about their use of RTP shuttles 42, 46, 47 and 49 to help define an on-demand service area and create the most accessible pilot program. The shuttle routes currently begin and end at the Regional Transit Center in Durham.
Rides would be free until the end of January, when fares would become $2.25 a trip with free transfers to other non-express routes, identical to GoTriangle’s existing shuttle fares. Phone numbers, apps and websites for riders to use to access the service are still being developed, but rides would be available Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., including midday.
“We believe that with new technology we can create a more attractive service that is more useful to more people in the RTP area,” said John Tallmadge, who directs GoTriangle’s Regional Services Development Department. “Some will use this service as a ‘first-mile or last-mile’ connection with bus routes serving the area, but others living in the RTP periphery will be able to go directly to their employment site or anywhere else in the service area. Also, we’re making sure it’s available midday so people can get back and connect to other bus routes or take it to run errands or get lunch. From the operating side, it means we won’t be running buses when there isn’t demand. And it gets riders to their destinations more directly.”
GoTriangle averages 120 boardings per weekday on the four RTP shuttles, which run only at peak commuting hours and not between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. GoTriangle hopes to increase ridership to 200 daily with the on-demand service. The number of vehicle miles traveled actually should decrease because shuttles will not be running when there is little demand, and the software will allow drivers to group requests for rides.