- Mobility company Via launched a microtransit service aimed at seniors, in partnership with the city of Newton, MA.
- Any resident aged 60 or older can access Newton in Motion, or NewMo, through the Via app to request on-demand, shared transportation to select destinations including the senior center, grocery stores, medical appointments and places of worship. Like other microtransit systems, NewMo will use algorithms to determine routes for customers heading in the same direction.
- Passengers will be transported in vans and wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Pick-ups and drop-offs will take place at a virtual bus stop within a short walk of passengers' destinations. Individuals who are unable to reach the virtual bus stop can request door-to-door service upon booking.
The microtransit service replaces Newton's previous senior-focused mobility option: a taxi voucher program. The contract for that program expired this spring. The new microtransit system is a more convenient transportation option considering the voucher program required passengers to book rides at least 72 hours in advance to guarantee service. Seniors will not have to wait more than 30 minutes for the microtransit service to pick them up.
When modern mobility innovations first launch, they tend to be geared toward younger consumers without mobility restrictions. But as mobility companies mature, they have been adding or expanding services focused on populations with different needs and abilities, such as seniors or people with disabilities. Ford expanded its GoRide non-emergency medical transportation service, Uber launched a similar medical trip service and Lyft has a ride-hailing service for seniors.
Ensuring aging adults — especially those who no longer drive — have access to transportation can prevent isolation. A growing body of evidence shows isolation and loneliness contribute to serious physical ailments including heart disease and dementia.
Clemson Area Transit in Clemson, SC tweeted this week that more than 50% of all non-drivers over 65 — about 3.6 million Americans — stay home because they don't have adequate access to other transportation options.
Did you know...largely because of limited transportation options, more than 50% of all non-drivers age 65 or older- or 3.6 million Americans-stay at home on any given day partially because they lack transportation options. @APTA_info @APTA_Transit— Clemson Area Transit (@CATbus200) June 17, 2019
Newton's microtransit program will harness new mobility concepts to help seniors stay on the move.