In recent years, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have begun offering city dwellers an attractive, affordable alternative to taxi rides and trips in their own vehicles.
Now, other companies are beginning to apply the ride-sharing business model to bus transit as well.
In San Francisco, a company called Chariot has developed an app that allows people to hail rides from buses in their area on-demand, just like they would with an Uber.
Meanwhile, in New York City, some people are speaking out in favor of a similar ride-sharing program that could alleviate stress on the existing MTA bus system.
- The proposed program would contract out with existing private bus companies and shuttle services to provide on demand-rides via a smartphone app.
This app would rely on an algorithm that creates flexible bus routes based on demand in different parts of the city. Upon hailing a ride, the app would simply match you with a bus on the nearest available route.
In addition to relieving public transit congestion, proponents of the ride-sharing program believe it would also provide the MTA with an opportunity to upgrade their own aging bus infrastructure. Ultimately, they would like to see the MTA adopt a bus rapid transit model to provide fast, direct routes around the city.
Chariot is reportedly planning for a launch in New York City, so this vision of a supplemental bus ridesharing program could actually be coming to The Big Apple sooner, rather than later.
If companies like Chariot continue to be successful, we may even see a bus ridesharing program come to Las Vegas in the future as well.