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Test program for microtransit bus service concluded April 30

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The test period for microtransit, the door-to-door, on-demand bus service in Snellville, concluded April 30 and Gwinnett County Transit officials will analyze operations to assist in establishing similar programs in the future.

Launched September 2018, the microtransit program carried 38,898 riders through April 3 for more than 172,000 miles on 28,740 trips. TransLoc, which provided the software to operate the microtransit system, reported that among the 12 cities it serves, the Snellville area microtransit program’s passenger count rated No. 2 behind the city of Sacramento.

“We didn’t know what to expect when we started the program,” said Karen Winger, Transit Division director. “But we ended up carrying up to 344 people a day in a 17-square-mile area. Microtransit is serving a real need in the Snellville area.”

Microtransit, which employs smaller buses, is designed to provide transit service in areas that lack the population to sustain regular bus routes. The Snellville service used seven 12-passenger buses operating from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Passengers could call for a ride or use a special app to enter pickup and dropoff locations, a passenger count, whether a wheelchair or other mobility device was being used and a pickup time. An algorithm routed the closest bus to pick passengers up with minimal disruption for other riders. The app also showed the bus location and estimated arrival time.

The microtransit service was accessible to everyone and could be used for local travel to appointments, shopping, visits and to connect with GRTA buses going to Atlanta.

The average wait from the time the call was received to the pickup time during the test period was 23 minutes.

With real operational data and cost figures to work with, the Gwinnett Department of Transportation can now calculate what it will cost to operate the program and what fares are realistic to charge in the future. The pilot program has been free.

The County hopes to renew microtransit service in the Snellville area in early 2020. Officials hope to eventually expand the service to the Buford area as well.