SamTrans Pacifica Microtransit Pilot
What is Microtransit?
On-demand, convenient, and flexible – microtransit leverages new technology to bring transit service when and where you want it - similar to other ridesharing apps. Microtransit service uses an app to route transit vehicles to your requested pick-up and drop-off location. The app also gives you an estimated pick up time. No schedules, timetables or bus stops required.
Every microtransit trip is unique; as ride requests come in, the algorithm will continually adjust the route to be as efficient as possible. By customizing routes based on real-time demand, microtransit is focused on getting you where you need to go as quickly as possible.
The 2015-2019 SamTrans Strategic Plan and the 2018 SamTrans Business Plan identified microtransit as a service model that might be suitable in areas that have been traditionally difficult to serve by traditional fixed-route transit. Many such areas exist on the Coastside of San Mateo County. Accordingly, the 2018 Coastside Transit Study had also identified the coast as a location where alternative bus service concepts, such as microtransit, may be suitable alternatives for fixed-route service. When the District decided to formally launch a microtransit pilot, staff identified the Linda Mar area of Pacifica to implement it. This location was found to be a suitable location for a pilot due to its proximity to the Linda Mar Park & Ride, the popularity of the existing FLX Pacifica route, and propensity for localized trip-making due to the mix of residential and commercial land uses within a relatively isolated geographic area.
What was SamTrans OnDemand?
SamTrans launched its microtransit pilot, called SamTrans OnDemand, in the Linda Mar community in May of 2019. It replaced the FLX Pacifica shuttle, which operated in the same area roughly centered on the Linda Mar Park & Ride. OnDemand was in operation for 12 months, and was reverted back to the FLX Pacifica in May of 2020.
During the pilot, staff continually monitored the pilot’s effectiveness, productivity, and ease of operation. Lessons learned were documented and will be rolled into Reimagine SamTrans, the District’s ongoing comprehensive operational analysis. Based on these findings, the Reimagine process will holistically evaluate whether and to what extent microtransit can best be deployed in the county in service of the District’s goals as a mobility manager. A summary of key findings can be found in the staff presentation to the SamTrans Board of Directors from November, 2020.