• Follow us


Los Angeles Is Now Offering Car Rides to Metro Stations

Public transit agencies are not known for their flashy, up-to-date technology. In many cities, you’re lucky if your diesel bus shows up on time. But this week, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is trying something new.

Starting today, riders who live near three Metro stations will be able to download an app, tap a few times, and have a car show up at their door—or at least within a few blocks—and take them to that station. The service, provided by ride-hail company Via, will cost riders with the system's TAP cards $1.75, though it will be free for those who already use Metro’s low-income subsidy programs. Riders will share their car trips with between two and five others, but the agency says they shouldn’t have to wait longer than 10 minutes for a pick-up.

If LA has its way, the one-year experiment with on-demand service will solve the devious first-mile, last-mile problem, connecting those who live just a touch too far away from stations to get there. The idea is to make it easier for a whole new group of people to use mass transit. “We’ve created an additional layer of public transportation,” says Chris Snyder, Via’s head of global expansion. “It’s complementary.”

For cities, moving more people into buses, trains, and shared rides isn’t just a way of reducing traffic. It’s a pathway to meeting aggressive emissions goals and giving people who don't own a car new ways to get around.


The timing is fortuitous: American cities and their transit agencies are hankering for innovation. In Southern California, more and more people are buying their own cars, which has put a dent in transit ridership. Plus, the agencies have felt the squeeze from tech-enabled transportation services like Uber and Lyft, and have openly fretted about the effects that autonomous vehicles (whenever they arrive) might have on their service. According to research released this month by civil engineers with the University of Kentucky, heavy-rail ridership decreases 1.3 percent each year after ride-hail companies enter the average metro, and bus ridership drops 1.7 percent. To claw back some of those fares, agencies would love to replicate the ease and convenience of ride-hail—without the expense.

For cities, moving more people into buses, trains, and shared rides isn’t just a way to cut down on traffic complaints. It’s a pathway to meeting aggressive emissions goals and giving even those who don't drive or can’t afford cars new ways to get around. But in sprawling areas like LA, it’s not easy to walk or bike to bus and train stations. That's why the city has turned to Via and its flexible routing software.

The year-long pilot project will focus on the El Monte, Artesia, and North Hollywood Metro stations, all of which are in minority and relatively low-income communities. People without smartphones will able to hail rides by telephone, and those without access to credit cards will be able to pay through debit or prepaid cards. “The whole idea of this is to make sure this is open to communities that don’t have great access to [ride-share services] right now,” says Joshua Schank, the chief innovation officer inside LA Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation, which is overseeing the pilot.

The year-long pilot project will focus on the El Monte, Artesia, and North Hollywood Metro stations, all of which are in minority and relatively low-income communities.


LA is not the first city to attempt Uber-like convenience on a mass transit budget, and the idea’s track record is not great. A short-lived collaboration between Kansas City and the on-demand van service Bridj ended amidst terrible ridership numbers, as the city’s agencies admitted they did a subpar job marketing the service. The city of Centennial, Colorado, ended a one-year pilot offering riders on-demand Lyft trips to transit in late 2017, after finding that the service cost twice as much as its old call-a-ride option and provided only about 10 trips a day.

Critics argue that these services aren’t financially viable for agencies or even close to efficient—imagine your bus wandering around town trying to drop everyone else off close to their homes. Plus, the model might not even be that new. It could turn out that these new apps are just replicas of the decades-old “call-a-ride” model, which allows riders without access to transit to reserve trips over the phone. Such services are notoriously expensive and torturously slow.

But agencies have seen limited successes. The San Francisco Bay Area’s AC Transit replaced one low-ridership bus route and supplemented another in less dense areas with an on-demand option (still driven by the agency’s unionized drivers). Seven hundred customers completed 23,000 trips in the project’s first year, with 94 percent of riders saying they preferred the on-demand option over more traditional bus service. Still, an average of just three riders used the service each hour, down from seven with a traditional bus—which means the agency is shelling out a lot of money for a small number of riders.

Which means setting up this pilot is a tricky thing. LA Metro is ready to cop to that. It pushed back its launch date by six extra months because negotiating an agreement between public and private sector entities “takes longer than people think,” says Schank. In the end, this contract with Via will cost Metro $2.5 million, with some of that money paid for by a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. (The feds have dedicated at least $8 million to exploring how new technology might be used by public transit agencies.) Via, for its part, won’t make money on this until they transport a sufficient number of passengers per hour.

Via will also have to hand over some of its trip data—a sticking point that scuttled an earlier LA Metro partnership with Lyft. Via will give Metro anonymized info on where and when its riders are using the on-demand service, and how many are requesting wheelchair-accessible cars. (Legally, Metro must provide all riders the same level of service, regardless of disability.)

“We’re super sensitive about the technology we’ve built,” says Via’s Snyder. “But there are ways to share data that provide real value to agencies without compromising our secret sauce.”

Via has also agreed to lead the marketing effort for the new service—something the company believes is critical to its success in LA. “Because this is an app-based service, you have to make people aware of it and get them to sign up and try a ride. And once they do all that, it has to be a great product,” Snyder notes. He says the company has been tweaking its marketing playbook to take account of the population Metro is targeting with this project, translating its materials and preparing for old-fashioned paper flier distribution.

Will it work? Well, it’s an experiment. “The entire premise of this pilot is based on learning from past experiences and trying to do something better,” Schank says. In the end, LA will decide whether it’s worth teaching an old agency new tricks.

More Great WIRED StoriesWe need a radical new way to understand screen useThese chickens lay designer eggs for Big PharmaFyre Festival docs dissect attendees'—and your—FOMOWeedmaps’ grip on the high-flying California pot marketThe invisible reality of motherhood on Instagram👀 Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our picks, gift guides, and best deals all year round📩 Want more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest storiesRead More

Leave A Comment

More News


Why'd the Polar Vortex Cancel So Many Flights? 2019-01-31 20:39:48Freezing temperatures may not bother airplanes, but they are no good for the people on the ground who make them fly.

NYC Now Knows More Than Ever About Your 2019-01-31 18:18:27The city has an unusual amount of insight into what ride-hail companies do on its streets, and it uses the info to plan for the future.

Tesla Moves to Build the Model Y After 2019-01-30 20:03:03Elon Musk’s car company just announced its second profitable quarter in a row, but keeping the momentum going requires more focus on costs, and

Lyft Sues New York Over Driver Minimum Wage 2019-01-30 19:06:59The ride-hail company says the new rules, set to roll out Friday, would advantage the market leader—Uber.

CarVi Wants to Help Cure the Common Pothole 2019-01-30 09:00:00It would update its windshield-mounted devices to identify the scourges, then share the info with local governments.

Why Electric Cars Struggle in the Cold—and How 2019-01-30 07:00:00Cold weather is no fun for battery-powered cars, but experienced owners have a few tips for getting by when the mercury drops.

Mercedes’ EQC SUV Makes Everyday Electric Elite 2019-01-29 09:00:00With some clever tricks and flair-free styling, Mercedes sets off down the battery-powered path.

The Need for Carbon Fiber Could Ground the 2019-01-29 08:00:00The many companies racing to launch air taxis face the gnarliness of building aircraft from the lightweight but finicky material.

Los Angeles and Via Hook Up to Offer 2019-01-28 13:30:00The city and ride-share company are trialling a new service meant to get more people onto public transit.

Uber Wants Self-Driving Scooters and More Car News 2019-01-27 09:00:00Plus: Making public transit work better for women, the government shutdown messes with air traffic control, and more.

A 'Multicultural Toilet' and Other Innovations to Fix 2019-01-26 08:00:00This year's Crystal Cabin nominees offer new ways to make the most of precious space.

Ending the Government Shutdown Won't Fix Flight Delays 2019-01-25 18:45:10The shutdown will have longterm effects, likely pushing aging air traffic controllers to retire and slowing the training of their replacements.

Automotive News Breaking

Mazda-Toyota skipped N.C., but state still has $1.6 2019-02-09 00:00:01North Carolina put together a colossal $1.6 billion incentives package to woo the Mazda-Toyota auto plant. The project went to Alabama instead, but No

Growing McLaren ponders constraints on production 2019-02-09 00:00:01McLaren North America is heating up. And it doesn't have any crossovers or SUVs to attribute to the exotic brand's continued growth. Only its sports

Toyota's moonshot: Self-driving car for sale - in 2019-02-09 00:00:01In just one year, Japan's biggest carmaker wants to start selling a self-driving vehicle that will be the "most powerful supercomputer on wheels."

Senior EPA official resigns, starts nonprofit to defend 2019-02-08 15:55:22A senior EPA policy adviser who worked on a proposal to scale back light-vehicle tailpipe emissions standards left the agency to form a nonprofit advo

Automakers recall 1.7 million vehicles in ongoing Takata 2019-02-08 15:26:32The callback announced by the U.S. government Friday includes Subaru of America, Tesla, BMW, Volkswagen Group, Daimler Vans, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari

In used Ferrari case, damages against Ark. dealer 2019-02-08 15:16:58A federal judge agreed that punitive damages owed by Silverstar Automotive were excessive but also had some harsh words for the dealer.

VW's Electrify America to invest $300 million in 2019-02-08 12:17:46The Cycle 2 investment will focus on metro charging stations in new and existing markets. The plan will also support autonomous electric vehicle charg

AAA shows consumers how temperature extremes hurt EV 2019-02-08 11:25:24The findings raise questions about whether automakers can make EVs appealing to consumers in cold-weather states.

Bosch faces possible fine in Germany for diesel 2019-02-08 11:21:41Prosecutors in Stuttgart are looking into a possible fine for auto supplier Robert Bosch for providing Volkswagen with engine management software that

Audi readies entry-level EV concept for Geneva show 2019-02-08 11:14:41Audi will give Geneva auto show visitors a glimpse of a future battery-powered car destined to become the automaker's smallest EV.

FCA paid $77 million in 2018 for U.S. 2019-02-07 17:09:12Fiat Chrysler said it paid $77 million in U.S. civil penalties late last year for failing to meet 2016 model year fuel economy requirements, the first

Congress eyes curb on Trump's trade authority as 2019-02-07 17:05:16Congress is launching new attempts to curtail President Trump's authority to impose tariffs on light vehicles and other goods and services amid an es

All Motor Trend Stories RSS

2020 Toyota RAV4 Gains TRD Off-Road Model 2019-02-07 11:21:12Toyota is revealing a special TRD Off-Road version of the 2020 RAV4 at the Chicago Auto Show this week. The beefed-up crossover receives an improved s

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Debuts With GTI Performance 2019-02-07 10:45:43The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI debuted at the 2019 Chicago auto show, rounding out the German automaker’s compact sedan family. Like its predeces

2020 Subaru Legacy First Look: Hello Again, Turbocharger! 2019-02-07 10:30:30Show Floor Update: It may seem that Subaru is simply chasing trends with the Legacy’s large touchscreen display. But according to North Ame

2019 Chicago Auto Show Car Gallery … PHOTOS! 2019-02-07 10:30:12The 2019 Chicago auto show hosts the latest automotive reveals—and there’s more activity than you might think. The 2020 Toyota Tacoma hits

2020 Kia Sportage Gets Mild Exterior Refresh, New 2019-02-07 09:00:53The refreshed 2020 Kia Sportage debuted at the 2019 Chicago auto show with a revised front fascia and other subtle changes. Additionally, a new S trim

2020 Toyota Sequoia Gets the TRD Pro Treatment 2019-02-07 00:01:47Toyota is adding the Sequoia to its list of vehicles with a TRD Pro variant. Debuting at the Chicago auto show, the 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro gets a

2020 Toyota Tacoma First Look: Popular Truck Gets 2019-02-07 00:01:35When we compared midsize trucks recently, the Toyota Tacoma came up short. Way short. It looks great, promises to be dead reliable, and should continu

2019 Ram Heavy Duty Spawns Chassis Cab Variants 2019-02-07 00:01:21On the heels of the 2019 Ram 1500 winning our 2019 Truck of the Year award, Ram showed off its new 2019 Heavy Duty models at the Detroit auto sho

Aston Martin to Debut Lagonda All-Terrain Concept in 2019-02-06 15:45:46At the Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin will preview the first model for its Lagonda brand of zero emission vehicles. To whet our appetites, Aston Mart

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Tech: Seven Pub-Ammo Bullet(Point)s 2019-02-06 15:12:40It may be the year of the pig in China, but in the U.S. it’s the year of the heavy-duty pickup. Ram yanked the silk off its 2500/3500 models at

Ram 1500 Multifunction Tailgate Brings Barn Doors to 2019-02-06 00:01:13The tailgate wars are on. On the heels of GMC introducing its MultiPro tailgate for the 2019 Sierra 1500, Ram is now offering a trick Multifunction Ta

2020 Jeep Gladiator Set to Compete in King 2019-02-05 18:45:49It’s hard to overstate how excited we are to drive the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. It is, after all, the Wrangler-based pickup truck we’ve b

Automotive news - from

Electrified car sales in Romania up 65% in 2018 2019-02-08 11:01:00The number of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars sold last year in Romania was 4,572, up 65.7% compared to 2017, according to statistics fr

Daimler starts production of new gearbox in Romania 2019-02-08 09:12:00Daimler has started production of a new automatic gearbox type at its factory in Sebes, central Romania.

Paris open to reducing Renault stake in Nissan 2019-02-08 06:41:00The French government has informed Tokyo that it is willing to consider reducing Renault's stake in Nissan Motor as part of a broader review of the c

Daimler eyes closer ties with Geely 2019-02-08 06:17:00Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has said the carmaker was in talks about deepening cooperation with Volvo Cars and London Taxis parent Geely, though German

CATL to supply batteries for new Honda EV 2019-02-08 05:40:00Honda Motor has signed a new partnership agreement with Chinese electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) to s

Tenneco appoints Denise Gray to board 2019-02-08 05:36:00Tenneco has appointed Denise Gray to its board of directors effective 1 March.

Skoda invests in developing EV infrastructure 2019-02-08 05:33:00Skoda is carrying out tests using more than 300 charging points to optimise charging infrastructure and charging times ahead of its EV launc

Navya and Insavalor open academy to develop AV 2019-02-08 05:25:00Navya and Insavalor, a subsidiary of Insa Lyon Research and Development have opened the Navya Academy by Insavalor to offer a range of training course

Russia growth stalls to 0.6% as VAT rise 2019-02-08 04:58:00Russia's remarkable run of surging sales came to something of a halt in January with a slender rise of just 0.6%.

Autoliv pays tribute to founder Lennart Lindblad 2019-02-08 03:59:00Autoliv has paid tribute to founder, Lennarat Lindblad, who has died aged 89.

PSA to acquire TravelCar 2019-02-08 03:52:00PSA says it is acquiring TravelCar, offering parking and car rental solutions two years after its equity investment in the start-up.

EC green lights Stena and Glovis joint venture 2019-02-08 03:47:00European Commission (EC) officials have approved, through the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture by Stena Rederi of Sweden, part of

High Gear Media Network Feed

Speedy SUVs: BMW teases first X3 M and 2019-02-08 13:00:00The wait is nearly over for the new BMW X3 M and X4 M. Last Friday, BMW teased both performance SUVs and added to stay tuned as we approach the vehicl

First drive review: The 2019 Acura NSX grips 2019-02-08 11:45:00North Georgia roads bustle in the spring but crowds thin when browned leaves and cool north winds arrive. It’s just warm enough to keep the wind

Ford F-150 Raptor and Mustang could get a 2019-02-08 11:42:00Gas is cheap and the power wars are in full swing still. The latest engine to enter the arena is Ford's forthcoming 7.3-liter V-8. On Monday, Ford an

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, 2019-02-08 11:00:00Alfa Romeo has just announced its 2020 4C Spider. There aren't any changes to note but Alfa Romeo has introduced a special-edition model dubbed the I

Mopar-modified 2019 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty rolls into 2019-02-08 09:30:00Aspiring owners of the redesigned 2019 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty already have a bevy of customization options to choose from thanks to the folks at Mopar. F

Honda nearly left VTEC out of the original 2019-02-08 08:45:00The original Acura NSX has obtained a legendary status among enthusiasts, but it almost went to production without its famed variable valve timing &am

2019 Lexus NX F Sport Black Line Special 2019-02-08 08:00:00Lexus has treated its NX crossover to a special edition package that was revealed on Thursday at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. The Lexus NX F Sport Blac

As it turns 100, Bentley to look to 2019-02-08 07:00:00Bentley celebrates its centennial in 2019 (the actual date is July 10), and the automaker is clearly excited. In an interview with Car Sales published

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider honors homeland with 2019-02-08 06:00:00Alfa Romeo's 4C Spider soldiers on into the 2020 model year with a new special edition dubbed the Italia. Unveiled on Thursday at the 2019 Chicago Au

Haas first to reveal 2019 F1 car 2019-02-08 00:01:00We're just a month out from the start of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship and the first team to reveal its contender for the new season is Ameri

Bugatti celebrates 110th anniversary with special-edition Chiron 2019-02-07 20:00:00Bugatti is 110 years old this year, and to celebrate, the hypercar maker revealed a special-edition Chiron. Appropriately called the Bugatti Chiron 11

The Mazda Miata and Acura NSX debuted 30 2019-02-07 15:44:00In a twist of fate, the 1989 Chicago Auto Show marked the debuts of the production version of the Mazda Miata and the concept of the Acura NS-X, both

Featured Articles

Lexus UX review 2019-02-07 10:45:39 For  Individual styling Smart interior Economical Our Rating  3.5 Against 

SsangYong Musso review 2019-02-07 08:34:45 Our Rating  3.5 For  • Attractive cabin • Towing ability • Excellent value

New Nissan Qashqai N-Motion special edition released 2019-02-07 08:01:02 Luke Wilkinson 2019-02-07 13:00 Limited edition Nissan Qashqai N-Motion adds additional equipment to the mid-range N-Connecta, pl

Ford tests autonomous vehicle pedestrian safety system 2019-02-07 07:49:15 Luke Wilkinson 2019-02-07 12:50 Ford’s autonomous safety system sets up communication between vehicles and pedestrians, thr

Citroen Berlingo review 2019-02-07 07:24:12 For  Cheap to buy Comfortable Van-like practicality Our Rating  4 Against 

Jaguar Land Rover posts huge financial loss 2019-02-07 07:08:43 Hugo Griffiths 2019-02-07 12:10 JLR posts biggest-ever quarterly loss of £273m; fourth consecutive quarter of losses; value

BMW 3 Series review 2019-02-07 04:52:50 For  Frugal yet potent engines Excellent infotainment Improved refinement Our Rating  5

Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial review 2019-02-07 04:39:53 Our Rating  3.5 For  • Excellent off-road • Comfier than a pick-up • Big

New Europe-wide online car auction platform launched 2019-02-07 03:45:56 Luke Wilkinson 2019-02-07 08:50 CollectingCars.com provides a secure platform for the sale of collectible cars from all eras, wit

New MINI Cooper Classic 2019 review 2019-02-06 09:40:27 Image 1 of 14 Image 1 of 14 6 Feb, 2019 2:45pm Richard Ingram MINI has simplified its range for 2019, an

All-electric Kia e-Niro sold out after a month 2019-02-06 09:22:28 Luke Wilkinson 2019-02-06 14:15 The initial UK production run of 900 Kia e-Niros has already sold out, and new orders will be del

Could an electric car work for your business? 2019-02-06 08:14:00 Tristan Shale-Hester 2019-02-06 13:25 We meet the businesses who’ve taken the plunge by buying Teslas to deliver goods &nda

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.