July 6, 2018
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Leveraging Technology and Partnerships to Provide Mobility as a Service

BY TINA QUIGLEY
General Manager
Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas

It cannot be denied that public transportation is changing. From autonomous vehicles to bikeshare to ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, the way we get around today is drastically different than it was just a few years ago.

Ultimately, transportation will evolve even more in the years to come. As a public transit agency, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s (RTC) challenge is to identify how technology and partnerships can improve the services we offer.

In Southern Nevada, we embrace this challenge and the concept of mobility management, also known as “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS), to manage travel more efficiently by offering customers a combination of transportation options for their trips. To this end, the RTC is working to integrate the services we provide while pursuing partnerships to enhance the services we offer.
The rideRTC app enables customers to plan their trip via public transit, the RTC Bike Share program in downtown Las Vegas, walking, cycling or via a transportation network company.

For example, our rideRTC app allows people to buy their transit tickets and plan their trip on their smartphone. We partnered with an industry leader, Transit App, to create the trip planning component of the app, which offers a user-friendly interface that integrates various modes of transportation. Using the app, customers can determine which RTC transit route to take as well as how they can walk, use RTC Bike Share (located in downtown Las Vegas) or use Uber to get to their final destinations.

We recently partnered with Lyft to launch a “Ride On-Demand” pilot program that—for the first time in Southern Nevada—will provide a select group of paratransit customers with a same-day transportation option. Ride On-Demand puts customers in control; they don’t have to schedule rides in advance, unless they’d like to do so. Customers can plan their transportation needs in real time and be more spontaneous with this more flexible service, which can pick up passengers within minutes.

Paratransit customers in the program can schedule rides directly through the Lyft app. Customers without access to a smartphone or who require a wheelchair-accessible vehicle can call RTC Customer Care seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to request a ride via the program.

Through a digital platform from Safe­Ride Technologies, RTC customer service representatives can schedule rides on a customer’s behalf. Both ADA and non-ADA service are provided, and Lyft has educated its drivers on how to assist passengers with collapsible wheelchairs, as well as low-vision and hard-of-hearing/deaf clients, to ensure the highest quality of service.

The pilot program provides increased flexibility for customers without increasing passenger costs. As a result, it has been a great success. Since its launch in February, more than 1,000 Lyft rides have been taken, with 80 percent of rides booked via the Lyft app. More than half of eligible customers have signed up for the program so far.

In addition, the new program has yielded a 48 percent savings in operating costs for the RTC. A win-win for everyone, it stands as an example of how similar partnerships could complement transit services, including providing first-mile, last-mile connections.

As transportation options continue to evolve, public transit agencies will need to evolve, too. In Southern Nevada, the RTC welcomes this evolution and remains committed to pursuing partnerships and integrating services to provide our customers with enhanced mobility and quality service.
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