Traveling from A to B has never been easier. Decades ago, transportation services were limited to the usual public transit options. But because public transit has fixed routes and schedules, it doesn’t always accommodate everyone’s needs. Then vehicle-sharing services came along, allowing riders to request a car from their smartphone with the touch of a button. But even these ride-hailing apps have flaws too. They’re only as reliable as the number of drivers available at a given time and can be more expensive than some public transit options.
These flaws are the reasons why a microtransit platform that operates on a smaller scale than the traditional ride-hailing services has arisen. That being said, it opens up a world of opportunity for businesses.
What Is Microtransit?
Microtransit is a new and emerging transit option that has features of both public and private transportation. It mostly operates using small-sized vehicles, usually minibuses or vans. Most microtransit services use dynamic on-demand routing, which means that the vehicles can be anywhere as they respond to customers’ individual needs, just like the regular ride-hailing services. The only difference is that microtransit focuses on low-income and low-density areas with a shorter route radius. But it doesn’t mean that microtransit is only ideal for rural areas; urban and suburban routes are also possible.
How Microtransit Works?
Imagine this: someone needs to get from one place to another. All they have is their smartphone, so they open an app and book a seat on the next available vehicle. The app shows them where the vehicle will be along with its start and endpoints. They need to wait for it at the right spot until it arrives, then hop in and go. Along the way, their driver might pick up or drop off other riders going in the same direction (making it a more affordable shared ride). When they get to their destination, the rider pays for the trip either through the app or their transfer card.
For riders, this is a new way of getting from A to B without relying on schedule or route. For businesses, it’s an opportunity to provide better transit service while gaining more revenue. It sounds like a win-win situation for everyone involved. Click here to learn more about microtransit.
Having these in mind, is a microtransit business right for you and your community? Here’s how to determine if the service best fits your needs:
You Have A Group Of People In Mind That You Want To Provide Service To
Older adults and persons with disabilities are prime examples of who microtransit can cater to. Bus routes don’t always accommodate these types of riders, so the ability to control the route and ensure their safety is an excellent advantage of microtransit. If the area you’re servicing has many people of this type, the microtransit service might be beneficial for you.
You’re Part Of A Community With Limited Access To Public Transit Routes
How accessible are public transit routes from the house’s location is probably one of the primary questions all homebuyers have before they purchase a home. As everybody knows, public transit routes are the backbone of most communities. But when there are no public transit routes around, or they’re unreliable, this could mean that residents will have a hard time getting to their desired destinations. And that’s precisely the situation microtransit aims to solve by bringing riders an alternative route.
In areas where public transit is scarce, microtransit can make a difference in the community. It would be the best option for people who live in areas where weather conditions hinder safe travel or trip distances are too long to walk, such as going to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, or the pharmacy.
You Want To Provide Affordable Transportation Options
For communities that can’t afford public transit or ride-hailing services, microtransit offers a more affordable option that doesn’t require large fleets of vehicles. With the microtransit platform, riders who have the same route can be pooled together to reduce costs. The amount you could shave off by implementing a microtransit service into your business model could also give you a competitive advantage.
Small businesses can provide riders with affordable transportation while being profitable by having the flexibility to act as both a private and public transit service.
You Have The Guts Towards Running A Relatively New Transport Service
If you answered yes to all these, then you’re a good candidate for a microtransit startup. Microtransit is still a new industry, and although it presents a great opportunity, there are risks involved. But with the increasing demand for efficient and affordable transportation and the rising number of people who want less car-dependency in their communities, the future might be bright for microtransit companies.
To determine if microtransit is right for you, think through the questions above. They’re a good start in understanding if your community is ready for microtransit and whether or not you have what it takes to manage a service like this. Even though public transit might be an option, microtransit can offer a more affordable alternative that’s right on track with today’s transportation trends.