April 18, 2019
  • 2:34 pm Committee Leadership Comes into Focus for 116th Congress
  • 2:22 pm Interstate System Report Calls for More Funding, Tolling, VMT Fees, and Cybersecurity
  • 2:15 pm In Memoriam: President George H. W. Bush, ISTEA, and Transportation
  • 1:56 pm Growth Projected for Transportation Projects, but Costs a Challenge
  • 1:35 pm FAA Reshuffles Executives, Plans Drone Identification Rulemaking in Spring 2019
  • 1:28 pm Predictive Technology Helps Reduce Crashes on I-15 Corridor in Las Vegas
  • 1:14 pm Video Report: MoDOT Produces Multi-Lingual Safety Message
  • 1:11 pm PennDOT Nears Completion of Rapid Bridge Replacement Project
  • 1:08 pm Infrastructure Grants Awarded to “Smaller” South Dakota Communities
  • 1:04 pm House Subcommittee Targets Design Changes to Improve Roadway Safety
  • 1:00 pm Work Zone Safety Touted at Kickoff Event in Nation’s Capital
  • 12:58 pm Sec. Chao Reiterates Transportation Budget Priorities in House Testimony
  • 12:53 pm House Subcommittee Hearing Seeks to Stem ‘Misuse’ of Harbor Maintenance Taxes
  • 12:47 pm Proposed Legislation Seeks to Extend Tax Credits for Electric and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority launched a one-year joint pilot program on April 1 that provides ride-hailing companies with a subsidy on a per-hour basis for every hour they make wheelchair-accessible vehicles or WAVs available for paratransit riders.

[Above photo by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.]

This program expands on a program launched in October 2016 with Uber and Lyft that offers on-demand ride-hailing services to users of MBTA’s door-to-door paratransit service, known as the RIDE program. MassDOT and MBTA said in a statement that this new WAV initiative came about in response to user feedback that wheelchair-accessible vehicles are not widely owned by ride-hailing company share drivers due to high costs.

Photo by the MBTA

The new one-year WAV subsidy pilot provides a fixed per-hour subsidy for each hour that an Uber or Lyft WAV is available on their respective ride-hailing mobile applications, the agencies said. The per-trip fee assessed through the 2016 Act Regulating Transportation Network Companies will be used to reimburse participating ride-hailing drivers in exchange for providing on-demand WAVs within the RIDE service area.

MassDOT and MBTA estimate that this subsidy will cover approximately 50 percent of actual WAV supply cost with ride-hailing companies contributing the remainder.

Ride-hailing firms participating in this pilot program will be reimbursed on a weekly basis by the MBTA according to the number of “WAV Supply Hours,” which is a measure of the availability of wheelchair-accessible vehicles for use by customers. The expected annual cost of this one-year pilot is approximately $2.4 million, MassDOT and MBTA said, with the goal to quadruple the WAV supply hours.

Stephanie Pollack

While the pilot will launch within the RIDE service area, MassDOT and the MBTA said they plan to explore similar pilot options for regions outside the service area if this pilot is deemed successful.

“This pilot is an innovative way to expand the availability of accessible vehicles through the use of existing technology,” noted MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack in a statement. “As we continue to hone our focus on the people we serve, we hope to strengthen our understanding of how we can better meet the needs of our customers.”

 

editor@aashto.org

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