Authors: Gustave Cordahi; Susan Shaheen, PhD; and Elliot Martin, PhD
Date: October 2018
Abstract: PSTA has assembled a unique multi-partner service with the goal of demonstrating an innovative approach to more effective and efficient paratransit by utilizing new technology available through transportation network companies (TNCs) to provide on-demand service. Leveraging the growing influence and demand for these types of services in Pinellas County, PSTA will expand its existing partnerships with United Taxi, Wheelchair Transport, and CareRide and a develop a new key partnership with Lyft, to develop and demonstrate a model that will provide more cost-effective, on-demand, door-to-door paratransit service.
Through the grant, PSTA will create three new partnerships with CUTR, Lyft, and Goin’ Software. CUTR will develop performance measures, gather data, and evaluate the effectiveness of transportation provider partnerships both leading up to and throughout the demonstration. Lyft will participate as an additional on-demand ambulatory platform to complement the other existing three partners. Goin’ Software will be used as a demonstration systems integration platform, aimed at creating a single-user interface for PSTA staff to deploy paratransit trips to multiple providers from one software platform.
The primary goal of the Public-Private-Partnership for Paratransit MOD (P4-MOD) demonstration is to deploy and demonstrate a more cost-effective and efficient means for paratransit customers with disabilities to gain access to activities throughout Pinellas County. PSTA currently provides service to over 12,500 eligible Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit customers, performing over 275,000 annual paratransit trips through its Demand Response Transportation (DART) Program. As reported in the 2017 – 2022 Pinellas County Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) Service Plan, over 10 percent of the total Pinellas County population has a disability and qualifies for TD services. A smaller subset of this population—those who meet the more restrictive requirements—also qualifies for DART services.
The proposed P4-MOD demonstration will decrease paratransit costs while greatly improving DART riders’ mobility by providing on-demand trips.