- St. Louis' Metro Transit agency is partnering with the app Transit to offer riders the ability to plan and book multi-modal trips. Transit will replace the agency’s Metro on the Go trip-planning app, which will go dark at the end of April.
- Transit won’t just provide real-time scheduling information for city buses and trains, but will also connect riders to Uber or Lyft. Users can then book and pay for a ride-sharing trip in the app. Transit has users in more than 175 cities worldwide and has partnered with transit agencies in Boston, Baltimore, Tampa, FL and Montreal.
- “Partnering with a single app that prioritizes transit makes it clear to riders where they can go for information,” Transit chief operating officer Jake Sion said in a statement.
By partnering with Transit, St. Louis becomes the latest city to embrace a mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) approach to its transit app, recognizing users will rely on more than just buses and light rail to get around.
The city operates 83 bus routes and 46 miles of light rail service, but ridership has dropped in recent years. Government Technology, citing statistics from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), reports that ridership ticked down 7.2% between 2017 and 2018. That had the agency looking for how to partner with other services to give riders more options. The app will also integrate with dockless bike-share and scooter options, and with real-time information. Last month, the app rolled out an offline trip planning option.
Transit agencies across the country grapple with the changing face of mobility, and embracing ride-hailing, bike-sharing and micromobility networks has to be a part of the future. Bay Area Rapid Transit’s new app in San Francisco includes driving, walking and biking directions, and will soon build in details on bike- and ride-sharing options. Other agencies such as the Dallas Area Rapid Transit are overhauling their own apps, while private companies like Google, Microsoft, Uber and Lyft have also built transit data into their own offerings.
A report released by KPMG in February found transit ridership has dropped 5% nationally over the past decade, and recommends that agencies evolve to become "mobility aggregators to meet the growing and changing needs of the consumer."
An APTA survey likewise found while more than three-quarters of consumers see public transit as the "backbone" of a transportation system, people also want it to be more accessible. In the survey, 74% of millennials said they would use an MaaS app that included transit.