Franklin Regional Transit Authority – Greenfield, MA
In 2019, FRTA launched the FRTA Access microtransit program. In contrast to many microtransit programs that are contracted out to a third-party company, FRTA operates its microtransit in house: FRTA upgraded its scheduling software to allow riders to book on-demand rides, and uses its existing demand-response vehicles to make the trips. Eligible demand-response riders have priority when they reserve in advance, and then any remaining capacity is open to the general public through the FRTA Access app. Initially, riders could only summon rides through the app, but over time FRTA also added an online reservation as some parts of the region lack good cell coverage.
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Franklin County Access Pilots for Nonprofits
Service: Access Pilot for Nonprofits
Provider Organization: Franklin Regional Transit Authority
Funders: State legislature (earmark)
Other partners: Franklin Regional Council of Governments, local health and social service agencies
Description: In November 2021, Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) a new program, entitled the Franklin County Access Pilot for Nonprofits. It was created for a coalition of local health and social service agencies. FRCOG had funding from a state legislative earmark that they originally planned to use to subsidize Lyft rides. The Lyft pilot was delayed due to lack of Lyft drivers in the rural area, and in the meantime, FRTA’s in-house ride-hailing program, Access, launched, so FRCOG pivoted to subsidize microtransit rides instead of Lyft rides.
FRTA’s Advisory Board met in May 2022 to discuss the future of these initiatives and voted to make the FRTA Access a permanent program.
Impact: The program not only expands clients’ access to mobility, but also promotes awareness of FRTA Access to agency staff. Once FRTA added the bike racks to the microtransit vehicles in March 2022, riders – not just from the partner agencies – immediately began to use them.
Lessons Learned: Participating health and social service agencies can schedule free FRTA Access rides for their clients. The program not only expands clients’ access to mobility, but also promotes awareness of FRTA Access to agency staff – and has other benefits as well. In March 2022, at the recommendation of one of the agencies, FRTA added bike racks to the microtransit vehicles to facilitate multi-modal trips.