START On Demand is reaching capacity for ridership just five weeks after launching in East Jackson.
“We’re pretty much maxed-out,” interim Director Bruce Abel told county commissioners on Monday.
The new rideshare service started Nov. 27, just days after Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opened for the winter season. Ridership on opening day was 50. As of last week, daily ridership had grown to 573 passengers.
Data collected through the On Demand mobile app showed an average wait time of approximately five minutes and an average trip time of five minutes. Morning rush hour fell between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., and evening rush hour was from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
But with the increase in ridership in what Abel called the year’s “highest demand periods,” wait times have increased. One user Abel talked to Monday reported a wait time of 35 minutes and decided against scheduling a pickup.
Still, Abel said he was pleased with the app’s use. He reported ridership as “very good for an on-demand service” and said it was nice that the service’s problems were ones of success.
Based on driver observations and passenger drop-off coordinates, most trips appear to be locals traveling to Miller Park to transfer to other START routes, Abel told the Jackson Hole Daily.
The success of the micro-transit system in East Jackson bodes well for extending services to South Park, Rafter J and Melody Ranch.
“I think that the success of the micro-transit in East Jackson is providing us a really excellent model,” Abel told commissioners.
On Demand, which runs from 6 a.m. to midnight, is receiving requests to extend services to places outside of East Jackson such as Albertsons and the library. Before expanding, Abel said: “We’re waiting to see how well we can meet max demand. Do we plateau at this [ridership] level or do we continue to grow?”