The Western-Washtenaw Area Value Express (WAVE)
public transit system has partnered with mobility solutions company MUVE
to pilot a new transportation app, an effort to support inclusivity for residents of all abilities.
Launched April 6 on both iOS and Android platforms, the Go MUVE app allows riders to book reservations online for WAVE's door-to-door bus services, provides real-time tracking for fixed-route vehicles, and offers convenient e-payment services. The new program also allows WAVE to extend its weekday morning, late afternoon, and evening service hours.
Julia Roberts, WAVE's executive director, says the MUVE partnership opens up opportunities for WAVE to serve riders – who are predominantly older residents or residents with disabilities – in a more innovative way.
"It goes even further than people being able to book more rides or booking rides that might need a lift for a wheelchair or needing to have an oxygen tank stored," she says. "We can eventually do things like crowdsourcing tagging locations for the most accessible location entrances at a drop-off. It's great for riders with mobility-assisted devices or cognitive or visual disabilities."
She adds that a social connection feature on MUVE could help people discover events along their route, helping to reduce isolation and promote community connections.
"Things are opening back up after COVID-19 and good weather is around the corner, so we want to offer people safe and user-friendly ways to engage with the world again," Roberts says.
WAVE lost about half its ridership due to COVID-19. WAVE provided approximately 3,000 rides per month before the pandemic, and it currently provides more than 2,100 rides monthly. Roberts is hopeful that the new pilot program will help rebuild WAVE's ridership as awareness grows.
"We're excited about serving new riders and welcoming returning riders back to an experience that is pretty much pain-free and reduces the potential stress of logistics," she says. "This pilot will really go a long way toward giving people of all abilities an Uber- or Lyft-like experience that they can use as a regular mode of transportation."
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.