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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (LA Metro) board last week approved a $2.2 million, six-month extension to the agency’s ride-hailing pilot program with Via.
The pilot program is testing the use of ride-hailing technology to enable LA Metro riders with low income or disabilities to connect to major transit centers. Since launching in January 2019, the service has provided more than 70,000 rides, exceeding agency goals in rides per week, rides per driver hour, wait times and customer satisfaction, LA Metro officials said in a press release.
LA Metro’s pilot — which is funded in part by a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration through its Mobility on Demand Sandbox Demonstration program — came in more than $500,000 under budget in its first year, allowing that to be carried over to help fund the first six months of the extension.
The extended contract includes options for LA Metro to extend the pilot another six months for another $2.7 million, and expand the pilot’s hours of operation.
The service has provided more than 800 rides to passengers requiring special assistance or wheelchair accessibility at about a third of the cost to taxpayers of an Access Services ride, LA Metro officials said.
More than 1,000 riders have used Via’s call-in center, indicating that people without smartphones are using the service.