Arlington, Texas is the largest city in the U.S. that didn’t have a public transportation system. It is nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth, both of which operate their own public transportation systems ( FWTA and DART, respectively). Arlington tried to setup a local public transportation option for a couple years. It contracted local public transportation to DART and took people to and from the TRE station (Trinity Railway Express) and to points within town. However, it proved too costly to run the NABI heavy duty buses and ridership was not very well utilized. Now through a new partnership the city of Arlington is looking to on demand ride-sharing provider Via.
The cost per-ride is just $3, which is a little more than a bus ride in many cities. However, there are options to get a subsidized weekly pass for just $10 as well, which is cheaper than riding a bus in many cities for a week. The city of Arlington sees the big cost savings using a fleet of passenger vans versus using a 40ft heavy duty bus, according to the city’s transportation department. They claim it’ll be spending $322,500 to operate the ride-sharing service for a whole year.
Arlington isn’t first city to provide subsidized ride-sharing service in place of public transportation, but its an indication that more cities may jump on the bandwagon. Many cities are beginning to rethink their transportation solutions. As the need to reduce costs and provide flexible transportation options grow throughout the country, so does the need for services like Via’s comes to need.