How A Failed Experiment Could Still Be The Future Of Public Transit

Source: Aarian Marshall, Wired, March 6, 2017

Bringing Bridj to Kansas City seemed like a no-brainer to transit officials. For just $1.50, anyone could use an app to summon a ride downtown in van that would follow a route calculated on the fly by an algorithm. No one within the service area was ever more than a 10 minute walk from a stop, and as an added incentive, your first 10 rides were free. It flopped. Just 1,480 people rode on a Bridj van, a laughably small figure in a city of 2 million people. The city launched the program with the Boston mobility startup in March 2016, and in the past six months just one-third of riders took more than 10 rides. The one-year, $1.3 million project ended Friday. You might call it a failure. Government officials and transit researchers call it a success…..

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Public-private partners aim to enhance existing mass transit in KC
Source: American City and County, March 1, 2016

Urban technology company Bridj is teaming up with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) to launch Ride KC: Bridj. It is a one-year pilot program that will use a network of locally built Ford Transit vans (photo below on left). The program will provide a new way to access areas of Kansas City that are rich in jobs and housing. The project is scheduled to launch in early March. … Ride KC: Bridj will be powered by billions of data points, 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 pilot aims to extend the current capabilities of Kansas City’s mass transit system.