Pop Up Busses Are A Thing, And Guess Who Agrees?
Article by Michael Field
An urban technology company called Bridj has been operating a limited service, on-demand, private bus service in select Boston and Washington, DC neighborhoods for the past few years. Now they have teamed up with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and Ford Motor Company to launch a one-year pilot program called Ride KC: Bridj.
Ride KC: Bridj is built on Bridj’s existing private, ‘pop up bus’ service. As in Boston and Washington, DC, Bridj’s platform determines where riders want to go and how to get them there most efficiently. Using the Bridj mobile app, riders can request on-demand shuttle service that they can access via pop-up shuttle stations.
The launch of this service in Kansas City is unique in that this is the company’s first public-private partnership with a major U.S. transit agency. KCATA is integrating Bridj’s fleet of private shuttles into Kansas City’s existing mass transit system. This not only fills critical gaps within KCATA’s existing route structure, it also directly connects riders with other forms of transit. KCATA president and CEO Robbie Makinen explains, “With the introduction of microtransit, we are creating a seamless and borderless transportation network for our residents that is easy to use, comfortable and affordable.”
“Only 18 percent of jobs in the Kansas City region are accessible within 90 minutes when using existing mass transit options,” notes Bridj CEO Matt George, citing figures from the Brookings Institute. “By improving access to jobs, Ride KC: Bridj is a catalyst for social and economic opportunity, and an example of what is possible when cities adopt technological innovation and work in collaboration with private entities to create a truly modern city.”
Ten Ford Transit passenger vans, built at Kansas City Assembly Plant, serve as the exclusive vehicle provider for Ride KC: Bridj. Ford Motor Credit Company is supporting the one-year pilot with financing through its municipal lease finance program. Photo Credit: Bridj.
The one-year pilot program will initially include downtown Kansas City, the near east and west sides, Hospital Hill, Crown Center, portions of Midtown, University of Kansas Medical Center and the Historic 18th and Vine Jazz district. It will serve as a gateway to other forms of transit as many pick-up locations will be at bus stops and areas served by existing Kansas City transit and bike-share systems. Additional routes will be added based on rider demand as identified through Bridj technology.