CATS plans to launch Uber-like pilot program

The Capital Area Transit System plans to pursue a new “microtransit” pilot program that would offer Uber-like services to transit riders.

Generally speaking, the program would deploy smaller vehicles, such as vans, in designated areas where riders will be able to request trips via an app, says CATS spokeswoman Amie McNaylor.

The new initiative is in “very early stages,” she adds.

The Baton Rouge transit agency has executed a $25,000 contract with TransLoc—a Ford-owned transit technology company—which conduct a study and then provide software to launch the pilot program.

CATS plans to hold a meeting next week to kick off the 90-day study, which will determine where the pilot will launch, how many vehicles will be needed and what the service will cost, McNaylor says.

Yet to be determined is whether the microtransit program will be used as a “first-mile, last-mile” service to get riders to and from bus stops, or to simply transport riders to and from certain destinations.

The pilot program is expected to last six months, McNaylor says. Once completed, CATS officials will decide whether to implement and expand the program.

“We’re looking into it mainly as an additional way to serve customers and the community,” McNaylor says. “It’s an opportunity we haven’t had yet. We’ll see how well it works. If it does work well, we’ll look at expanding it.”

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