- A new public-private, app-based ride-sharing pilot, FlexLA, has launched in downtown Los Angeles through a partnership between public-private transportation management organization FASTLinkDTLA and urban mobility company moovel.
- Riders who are going in the same direction will be picked up and dropped off on-demand at virtual stops or existing DASH bus stops. The passenger vans and hybrid vehicles will be driven by military veterans and service will be available in the evenings when transit service is less frequent.
- Riders can use an app to pay for their flat-rate trips. They will be charged a reduced fare during the FlexLA pilot and qualified low-income riders will receive discounts when the full program goes live.
Microtransit and other mobility innovations aim to give riders what they say they want: more options and more convenience. Like other microtransit programs, FlexLA will supplement the city's existing public transportation service rather than trying to compete with it. The program aims to fill service gaps during times when transit schedules are thin and in areas considered transit deserts.
"DTLA needs the addition of this service, and more to follow, in order to meet the intense growth demands that make Downtown Los Angeles one of the fastest growing urban centers in the nation. That growth is achievable if we help FASTLinkDTLA accomplish its goals to incentivize people to travel together by transit, micro-transit, biking and walking," Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar said in a statement.
Los Angeles has been working to overcome its numerous transportation challenges and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has been stepping up improvements to and expansion of a system that generally is considered lacking for a city of that size. Metro actively is pushing for mobility innovations to boost ridership and get more people to stop taking single-passenger vehicle trips.
Metro is advancing its own plans for expansion, but leaders also realize the existing system doesn't have the capacity to solve everyone's needs all of the time. Therefore, they have been vocal about seeking transportation partnerships to supplement transit service, such as the FlexLA program.