LA Ride-Sharing Pilot to Use Mobile Tech

LA Ride-Sharing Pilot to Use Mobile Tech

A ride-sharing scheme is being piloted in downtown Los Angeles by a mobile software maker and a public-private partnership.

FlexLA is a collaboration between FastLinkDTLA, a consortium of businesses and non-profit organizations purporting to seek improvement of the city center’s transportation infrastructure, and moovel, a maker of connected vehicle smartphone apps. The scheme’s vehicles will be driven by US military veterans paid full-time salaries, rather than the per-ride, one-off payments made to Uber and Lyft’s ‘contractors’. In a move the organizations claim “will ensure the service is available to all”, passengers will pay flat-rate fares and cut-rate fares if they’re on low incomes. moovel and fleet management company SMS Transportation will operate the service.

The vehicles used for the scheme will be Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger vans and GLC hybrid cars. The organizations claim FlexLA aims to improve transportation options for the poor, elderly and less mobile who don’t have access to their own vehicles, particularly late at night, when public transit in downtown Los Angeles becomes less frequent. A moovel app will supposedly allow these passengers to plan their own journeys, even though FastLinkDTLA says they will typically have to share their rides with other passengers travelling in the same direction.

Los Angeles City Council member José Huizar hailed FlexLA as a tremendous step forward, claiming downtown Los Angeles “needs the addition of this service … in order to meet the intense growth demands that make [it] one of the fastest growing urban centers in the nation”.



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