In the eternal effort to increase ridership, valley transportation officials are turning to a trendy new solution: microtransit.

It’s essentially the public response to app-based services like Uber and Lyft, and START is eyeing it as a way to fill the gaps in bus service.

“We’re trying to figure out how do we fix the flow of people around town,” START Board member Wes Gardner said, “and how does microtransit fit into that.”

The idea is for a flexible, on-demand transportation system. It would function much as its private-sector counterparts, with passengers hailing rides through an app, but with larger passenger vans to carry more people at once.

Because it would be so expensive to add this service while maintaining bus service at the current level, microtransit would likely entail fewer town shuttles and altered routes. But START’s goal is for the two to complement each other, making public transportation more rider-friendly and enticing more people to use it.

Rather than drive people directly to where they’re going, the microtransit vehicles would exist mainly to get people to the nearest bus stop, where they could then take the town shuttle to their final destination. 

Read more here.

Contact Cody Cottier at 732-5911 or town@jhnewsandguide.com.

Cody Cottier covers town and state government. He grew up with a view of the Olympic Mountains, and after graduating Washington State University he traded it for a view of the Tetons. Odds are the mountains are where you’ll find him when not on deadline.

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