Mountain Metropolitan Transit in Colorado Springs started their ridesharing program as a carpool hotline in the mid-2000s. Commuters would call an administrator with their route, and later receive a call back if there was a match. It was a labor-intensive and slow process.
To make it more convenient to take low cost, environmentally friendly modes of transportation, Mountain Metro recently implemented ridesharing software. The technology allowed the agency to improve the ride matching process and offer additional services including vanpooling and bike partnering to the nearly 4,000 commuters in their database.
When deciding on the future of their ridesharing service, Mountain Metro administrators were inspired by the popularity of ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. In an article published by Mass Transit, Mountain Metro spokesperson Vicki McCann explained that "you can see that there's a need out there for people to use other modes of transportation besides just single occupancy vehicles, and we thought it was important to make that easier to do." Ride hailing apps offer users a quick and convenient way to connect with drivers, and that positive user experience is a big part of their success.
To give commuters a better user experience, Mountain Metro decided to implement rideshare software that includes an online ride matching portal. Colorado Springs commuters can now log into the ride matching portal at any time of day and find people to carpool with based on travel schedule, origin and destination. The system returns matches within seconds, making it easy for users to plan one-time trips as well as regular daily commutes.
In addition to ride matching, the portal allows commuters to manage their own profiles and access useful data. For example, riders can track how much money they are saving by using alternate modes of transportation instead of driving on their own. This can encourage commuters to continue participating in the ridesharing program.
In addition to carpooling, Mountain Metro now offers a vanpool service. With the new service, commuters can use one of 25 vans provided by the agency to pick up others departing from and heading to nearby destinations. The agency also provides vehicle maintenance, fuel and insurance. This enables those without their own vehicles to become drivers for the program and also removes concerns about vehicle wear-and-tear, fuel and insurance costs. The service helps riders get to popular destinations that are underserved by fixed route transit.
Colorado Springs’ ride matching portal is truly a “one-stop shop” for commuters that are interested in low cost, environmentally friendly modes of transportation. In addition to carpool and vanpool matching, the portal also offers cyclists the ability to find others to bike to work with.
The ridesharing portal also makes it convenient for commuters to access real-time fixed route bus information right from within the platform.
In general, people want to get to their destination in the quickest and most convenient way possible while keeping costs in check. Rideshare programs can give people what they want by making trip planning easier, reminding commuters about cost benefits, and offering carpooling, vanpooling and bike partnering. With rideshare software, Mountain Metro is able to give their ridesharing users the quick and convenient service they want.