The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) in California is set to launch OC Flex, an on-demand, micro-transit service that dispatches vehicles to a rider’s home and takes them to a destination.
The service, which is expected to be approved by the OCTA board on March 26, would begin July 1. Like other “on-demand” transit programs popping up in cities across California and other parts of the country, OC Flex will begin as a one-year pilot and will operate in two designated coverage zones. Each zone will cover about 6 sq miles, according to an OCTA staff report.
As it's currently planned, the system will serve the cities of Huntington Beach, Laguna Niguel and Mission Viejo. OCTA has selected Keolis Transit as the operator, with the contract to be finalized at the March 26 board meeting.
The $1.15 million project is structured to provide transit services in areas where there’s little demand or need for full fixed-route service. OC Flex will use a cloud-based system to route and dispatch vehicles to riders. The vehicles will transport passengers to predetermined spots such as retail centers, transit stops and other destinations with a coverage zone. The system is being structured as shared transit, meaning vehicles may transport multiple riders at one time.
OC Flex is being launched to help boost currently decreasing ridership in Orange County. Ridership on the Orange County bus system fell 22% from 2012 to 2016, according to statistics, and the trend seemed to be continuing into 2017. In the summer of 2016, the authority initiated the first phase of its plan to increase ridership, which is known as OC Bus 360°.
Source: Government Technology