Montgomery launching micro transit van system this week

Montgomery is launching a micro transit van system.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 10:34 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2023 at 10:57 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Instead of waiting for the bus, Montgomery residents can soon pull out their phone and book a van.

“It’s all about convenience,” said Robert Smith, the city’s director of planning.

It is called micro transit, and it’s similar to Uber or Lyft but is run by the public bus system.

Starting Wednesday, people who download The M: Micro Transit app can pay $1.50 to ride in a black van.

The city paid nearly $300,000 for three vans. Each one is air conditioned and can fit nine people.

It is one way of keeping up with larger tourism destinations.

“Micro transit is a very, very popular service across the nation. They’re operating in Birmingham. It’s in larger cities, such as Atlanta and New Orleans,” Smith said.

Samuel Tensley is the general manager of Montgomery’s public transportation system, known as The M. For now, he says the vans will only operate in one area near downtown. The area includes the airport, hotels and tourism destinations. The plan is to one day expand.

“It’s going to be some trial and error. This is our first time doing this in this city,” Tensley said. “We want to ask people to have patience with us while we get through all the kinks.”

Downtown Montgomery is the first of what will likely be multiple micro transit zones.

Smith said the plan is to roll out one or two zones a year until the whole city is covered.

In the future, the city plans to get three more vans so they can expand to more zones.

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