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Future Transit

Future Transit

Will ridesharing services replace buses and light rail?

March 13th, 2018 in Opinion Editorial

Another industry might be going the way of the dodo bird thanks to technology. And that may have an impact on local residents.

For years, the city of Arlington, a bustling tourist town best known as the home of the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and amusement parks such as Six Flags Over Texas, had been the largest city in the U.S. without a pubic transit system. That changed four years ago when the city began operating a fleet of MAX commuter buses to ferry residents and visitors around.

Now the buses are on the way out and city has partnered with a ridesharing company called Via. Residents will be able to call a van for a one-way cost of $3. A weekly pass will be just $10.

The city says it expects to save a lot of money and part of the cost of the new service will be subsidized through the Federal Transit Administration.

Asked by "CBS This Morning," Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said he expects new technology to replace buses and other mass transit such as light rail. He also said its a pilot program and if it doesn't work, then the city will try something else.

Apparently riders like the new service. Instead of a system of fixed stop and pickup locations, the Via app allows resident to be collected and let off at locations of their choice with a fixed range. And Arlington plans to expand the service to serve even more neighborhoods.

The Texas city isn't the first to try this. According to the website Verve Summit, N.J., cut a deal with Uber to provide subsidized rides to residents. And Altamonte Springs, Fla., ditched public transit completely and now has a contract with Uber. The company, which operates in Texarkana, has said it sees public transit as a area for growth.

Which could mean the Twin Cities' still relatively new bus service could one day become a relic of the past.

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