Ride-Sharing Services for Hard-to-Serve Areas

The neediest and best-suited areas for what some call “microtransit” is seen to be in the suburbs, industrial areas, and other places where the population density is too low to support full-fledged service.

A report going before the Toronto’s Transit Commission’s board on Wednesday recommends that the agency look into launching a pilot project of an “on-demand ride-sharing service concept” as a potential complement to the public transit system.

The report asserts that private “microtransit” companies are able to serve “niche populations” more effectively than a large-scale public transit operator, and could be used to connect people in “hard-to-serve” areas.

Potential benefits include carrying people for the “first mile” and “last mile” of their transit trips, encouraging a shift away from private automobile use, and increasing safety for passengers uncomfortable with walking long distances to and from a transit stop.

But while the report states that “increasing mobility options in Toronto is, overall, a good thing,” there are also downsides. The report notes that wide-scale use of ride-sharing vehicles could increase traffic congestion, which would slow down public  bus and streetcar routes, especially downtown. Article from TheStar

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