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Pittsburgh just got another first, this one in transportation. Now you can ditch your car and download an app to get anywhere in town using multiple modes of transit.
The new Transit app will let you find a bus, “T,” bike, electric scooter, electric moped, car or ride-share. All the options are available in the app or by visiting one of the 50 new “mobility hubs” located on major transportation thoroughfares throughout the city. The hubs have electronic screens that guide users to all of the transit options nearby of every kind.
At a news conference on Friday morning, Mayor Peduto and representatives from Move PGH unveiled the integrated mobility system, the first comprehensive Mobility as a Service (MaaS) app in the U.S. It connects traditional transit (such as buses and light rail) and emerging, low-cost shared transportation into a single, easy-to-use system.
The new transit options include:
• A new fleet of shared low-speed electric scooters provided by Spin
• Expanded carsharing services provided by Zipcar
• A fleet of electric mopeds by local startup Scoobi
• Carpool matching and commuting services facilitated through Waze Carpool
• Electric charging for e-scooters provided by Swiftmile
• Real-time transit and mobility information on TransitScreens at mobility hubs
• Trip planning and most trip booking available through Transit
The Transit app is already being used by 40,000-plus people, 79% of whom don’t have access to a private vehicle. Users can pay with a credit card, and use multiple modes of transportation without having to keep entering credit card information.
One of the more unique aspects of the system is the use of Waze Carpool. It utilizes the free GPS navigation software app Waze that provides real-time traffic information, combined with a ridesharing system that connects users with other drivers going their way.
“Waze Carpool makes it easy and fun for Wazers to commute together, saving Pittsburghers time and money,” says Adam Fried, head of global partnerships at Waze. “Drivers and riders with similar origins and destinations in Pittsburgh will be matched, helping to reduce strain on the roads and the environment throughout the city.”
Since access to mobility options is a challenge for many low-income Pittsburghers, the city will also debut a Universal Basic Mobility pilot project. This will give up to 100 local low-income residents monthly transit subscriptions and shared mobility services.
“In Pittsburgh, too many residents are one missed bus or one flat tire away from losing their job or missing a critical appointment,” says Mayor Peduto. “Universal Basic Mobility, using the services of Move PGH, will demonstrate that when people have a readily available transportation backup plan they are able to access more opportunities and climb the economic ladder.”
These initiatives are the culmination of more than two years of work in an unusual public-private nonprofit partnership led by the city’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI).
The 100 low-income individuals in the Universal Basic Mobility pilot project will participate for six months, with “trip coaching” from the Manchester Citizens Corporation to make sure they understand how to use these new transportation options.
Spin, a mobility solutions provider backed by the Ford Motor Company, will work with the Urban Institute to evaluate its possible use as a national model.
“Making mobility cleaner, more equitable and more reliable is central to Spin’s mission; participating in this first-of-its-kind project gets us that much closer. As a Pittsburgh native, it’s been rewarding to be able to launch our pilot, and watch this project come to fruition giving residents a suite of options making it as easy to get around without a car as it is with a car,” says Ben Bear, CEO of Spin.
“What I’m most proud of is that the city is pioneering a universal basic mobility pilot that will give a group of low-income residents access to Move PGH. We hope Move PGH can become a model for how micro-mobility operators can collaborate with cities and other mobility companies to better serve the public.” adds Bear.
“The goal, eventually, is seamless fare integration,” Karina Ricks, director of DOMI, told Streetsblog. “What we want, over time, is to be able to say, ‘This transportation network and everything in it, it’s all one system, and your trip’s gonna be a flat $3, end-to-end, even if you’re using three different (shared) modes along the way.’
“We can parse out the revenue we take in among the different operators on the back end, so the user doesn’t need to worry about that. We can implement a subsidy on parts of that journey if a rider is low-income, or to encourage them to use something more sustainable. We can do all that for them, and make it as easy as possible — because all the user wants is to get from where they are to where they need to go.”
Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 8-year old son.