Among several adjustments to its fall service schedule, the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) has changed two of its traditional bus routes to an on-demand shared-ride service similar to Uber and Lyft.
Route 61 (Airport-Avis Farms) and Route 67 (Platt-Michigan Ave.) in Pittsfield Township both changed from traditional routes to AAATA’s FlexRide service as of Aug. 25. The FlexRide ridesharing service is designed to provide public transportation where traditional routes may be underutilized.
"It’s basically an easy and effective way to connect people to our fixed routes and to get them to wherever they need to go," says Samantha Potter, AAATA’s marketing and communications coordinator.
The new FlexRide routes will provide passengers connections to routes 5, 6, and 66 at Meijer's Carpenter Road location and Route 6 at Costco.
Public input was taken into account before the changes were set in motion.
"When deciding what to do with any of our routes, we look at a variety of factors. Primarily, we determine what ridership is looking like and how a route is being used during peak times," Potter says.
Potter says FlexRide service has seen steady growth in Ypsilanti Township, where it launched in the fall of 2017.
"We anticipate the Pittsfield Township service will also be very well received," she says.
Part of the service’s success lies in the fact that it’s quick and simple to use. Costing only $1 each way, with a reduced fare option for those who qualify, it’s also economical.
All users require a reservation (advance or same-day). AAATA recommends making a reservation at least 45 minutes before a pickup is needed, although it often takes less time for a vehicle to arrive.
A FlexRide vehicle can be booked through the MODE Car app, by calling (734) 794-0377, or by visiting myflexride.org for details. A complete list of all recent AAATA changes can be found in the Ride Guide, at (734) 996-0400, and on TheRide.org.
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of MODE.