- RideAustin, a nonprofit ride-share service, will offer free rides between a passenger’s home and one of two Capital Metro bus stops after a revamp of city bus routes has cut service to the area, according to Community Impact Newspaper.
- The service in West Austin offers a solution to the "first mile, last mile" problem and comes after another Capital Metro experiment known as "Pickup." The latter service ends this weekend.
- Capital Metro on Sunday begins a full revamp of its bus system known as Cap Remap, which will cut routes with low service and reorganize service elsewhere. The RideAustin partnership begins Sunday and is slated to end in December.
The partnership was necessitated by cuts to bus service, but Capital Metro says it could explore other areas for "innovation zones" that could replace buses with ride-sharing or other services. Andy Tryba, founder and CEO of RideAustin, told Community Impact Newspaper that finding innovations in transportation was the reason he teamed with the transit agency.
"At the end of the day the future of transportation really ends up being a merger of different container sizes: Sometimes it makes sense to have a 40-foot bus or sometimes a smaller container," Tryba said.
If successful, the free rides could offer a new model for microtransit as cities try to figure out how to get people to and from transit stops. Cities have begun partnering with ride-sharing companies to offer discounted (or free) rides around transit stops; Los Angeles has been exploring what could be the country’s largest microtransit network as it explores three pilot projects.