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Santa Monica Updates Dial-A-Ride Program with Lyft
By Lookout Staff
June 26, 2018 -- The Big Blue Bus is partnering with the rideshare company Lyft to upgrade the agency's Dial-A-Ride program for Santa Monica seniors and those with disabilities, City officials announced Tuesday.
Called MODE, an acronym for Mobility On-Demand Every Day, the program -- which will start July 1 -- will "improve curb-to-curb and door-through-door transportation" using the latest technology.
"The development of smartphone apps and online reservation software has created an opportunity to offer real-time and reliable transportation options," Blue Bus officials said in a statement announcing the program.
"Lyft’s flexible transportation service network will allow MODE to meet the high demand for service during peak times when members are most interested in traveling while increasing efficiency when the demand for transportation decreases."
The transit system's previous Dial-A-Ride service often posed challenges when members tried booking a ride during peak periods, officials said.
MODE requires no for advance scheduling on Lyft vehicles, provides more payment options through customers’ smartphone device and offers access to select medical centers outside the Santa Monica service area during hours of operation.
The new program will have the same eligibility requirements, cost per trip rate ($0.50), hours of operation and service area.
It also will continue to offer evening and weekend excursions and shopping trips and take reservations.
Those without smartphones or customers requiring a wheelchair accessible vehicle can call the MODE Call Center to book on-demand trips.
“This partnership is reflective of the changing mobility landscape and how transit agencies can adopt new technology to enhance the travel experience for MODE members throughout our City," said Ed King, the City's director of transit services.
"Continuing to understand customer needs and meeting those needs through quick and innovative service delivery is critical to our success in providing outstanding and efficient service.”
Early registrants began using the service June 1, and all Dial-A-Ride participants will be transitioned to the new MODE service by July 1, officials said.
Non-members interested in signing up for MODE can visit WISE & Healthy Aging to register and to receive a tutorial on the Lyft app.
To learn more about the MODE program, visit bigbluebus.com/mode.
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