LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Red Rose Transit is looking to bring its bus routes into the 21st century. It’s turning to Foursquare ITP to come up with two potential plans.
One scenario would focus on buses being located more in the city, where ridership is greater. The second situation would keep regional routes the same and use shuttles for the communities outside of the city.
“It’s the same service that has been in place for the last 50 years,” the executive director of South Central Transit Authority which oversees the Lancaster operation Greg Downing said. “We all know that Lancaster has changed a great deal over the last 50 years.”
Boris Palchik, a project manager of Foursquare ITP, says his company looks at three factors in order to make a strategic plan. It observes the market, the numbers and the people. But what exactly do they need from the people?
“What are the preferences and priorities? What are the aggravations? What is working well and what is not working well? What do people want to see more or less of in the future,” Palchik said.
The ability to order a bus ride right from your phone could be an option. It’s called “microtransit”, and it might become a reality for those who can’t catch typical buses.
“The purpose of that type of service is because fixed-route service can’t work everywhere,” Palchik said.
Red Rose says microtransit is not the most effective way to use transit dollars, meaning if it does materialize riders should expect to pay a premium for it.
It would come with a nice perk. Riders could order a pickup at specific spots not serviced by traditional routes without a lengthy wait.
“Typically wait times for microtransit service is under 30 minutes,” Palchik said.
It’s not as fast as other taxi-like services such as Uber and Lyft, but Palchik says it will be cheaper than rideshare apps.