Monday, June 24, 2024

Middlesex County NJ launching Uber-like public transit service

Middlesex County is launching an affordable app-based public transit service, similar to Uber.

New Brunswick will be the first to participate in RIDE On Demand, a one-year pilot program that will provide safe, easy and flexible transportation for $3 per rider. The new service, which will begin Feb. 27, will run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The program will offer unlimited free rides for the first two introductory weeks to encourage and familiarize people who live, work, study or visit New Brunswick with the service.

Through the Middlesex County RIDE On Demand app, which is available in the App Store or Google Play, riders can book the service from New Brunswick and get picked up in minutes to be driven to work, medical appointments, grocery stores or any location within New Brunswick.

“Reliable transportation is crucial for day-to-day living,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Charles Kenny, chair of the county’s Transportation Committee, in the news release. “Middlesex County RIDE On Demand can transport riders safely and efficiently. Especially, getting to and from major transportation services including train stations and bus stops. This is an excellent extension of the County’s existing affordable transit options, and an example of our ongoing commitment to increasing mobility throughout the County.”

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RIDE On Demand’s app and operations will be provided by Via, a TransitTech company. After someone books a RIDE On Demand trip, Via’s intelligent algorithms will match other riders headed in the same direction into one vehicle. Riders will be directed to a nearby corner for pickup and drop-off. The result is a service that minimizes lengthy detours while providing near-universal transit coverage in areas that buses and trains cannot reach.

RIDE On Demand may eventually expand to include other municipalities in Middlesex County after initial assessments on this pilot program. Current transit services under the Office of Middlesex County Area Transit (MCAT) will not be impacted by this new offering but will work together to serve the growing needs of the community.

To download the app, iPhone users should visit the App Store, Android users can visit the Google Play Store, and search “Middlesex County RIDE On Demand.” For individuals without access to digital devices, rides can also be booked by phone at 732-655-6600.

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