Microtransit: A New Choice for Commuters

Model 1 | June 10, 2015

Microtransit is a new industry spreading throughout urban areas in America. Spreading very quickly. Microtransit fills the gap between mass transit with big buses on scheduled routes, and private cars or taxis. Microtransit includes cab and car-share arrangements like UberPool, company buses like Google Bus, small commuter buses like Leap Transit, and every variation in between.

Just as the forms of microtransit are many and varied, people use these services for a variety of reasons. Some people use microtransit to avoid the daily commute and rush hour stress. Others living in the city find that they don’t want to own a car at all. People in the suburbs may be in areas that do not have the numbers needed for a mass transit big-bus route.

Since microtransit is so successful, many urban observers are wondering about the effect it will have on other transportation systems. The consensus seems to be that each transportation system has a unique value and they should not compete, but rather work as a system. The biggest concern is the need for coordination between mass transit and microtransit. While choices for commuters are a great idea, bad outcomes can develop. Mass transit is an important, necessary, and inexpensive way to get around for many low-income riders. Competition could result in mass transit routes being cut or eliminated and replaced with more expensive choices. The American Public Transportation Association’s Vice President Guzzetti cautioned that “Mobility has to be available for all.” Coordination between mass transit and microtransit has begun in some urban areas. Fewer vehicles are needed on the road. Commuters have more choices. Coordination encourages commuters, city managers, businesses, and all transportation systems to develop a system that works for their unique urban environment.