Regional Transit Authority to Launch Ride-Hailing App

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tom Cahir.

HYANNIS – A new ride-hailing app similar to Uber and Lyft will soon be launched by the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority.

The on-demand SmartDART app will allow riders to be picked up and brought to nearby locations or to the closest fixed route bus service stop for $3 per person. There will also not be any transfer costs to CCRTA buses.

“Our goal is to allow people to get to where they need to go in the most efficient manner here on the Cape,” said Tom Cahir, the CCRTA administrator.

The new app is currently being beta tested and a pilot program is expected to launch next month in Barnstable.

“We are going very slow with it to make sure we check everything out so we know everything is working well,” Cahir said.

The service should be available across the Cape this summer.

“With a simple smartphone they can pay and they can schedule and do all these things they need to do to get transportation to wherever they need to go,” Cahir said.

The app was developed in-house at the transportation agency over the six months.

Cahir said Chris Kennedy, the CCRTA’s mobility manager, and Daniel Fitch proposed the app.

“They brought to my attention the importance of making it a bit easier for our people to access our service,” Cahir said.

Cahir said the new app is another example of how the CCRTA is always trying to make transportation better for Cape Cod residents and visitors.

The agency has acquired three new, smaller vehicles for the pilot program.

“Some of the advantages of those smaller vehicles are that you don’t need a CDL license to drive it,” Cahir said.

The full used in the vehicles is also cheaper, more efficient and environmentally friendly.

The new service will supplement the CCRTA’s DART, or Dial-A-Ride service.

Last year, that service carried 400,000 people. Through the DART service, riders could call up to a month in advance to schedule a ride. That service does require a day notice.

“That is still going to be a robust and vibrant service,” Cahir said.

Cahir said the app not requiring 24 hour notice will be a game-changer for the region.

The agency will aggressively market the service this summer.

“After Labor Day, you’ll see this completely refined and up and running across the Cape,” Cahir said.

Cahir said the agency is always trying to find ways to improve transportation services.

“We try to keep up with the industry in terms of new technology,” he said.

There were a total of 1.6 million CCRTA users in 2019.

“Public transportation is a good way to go if you can do it and you have the time,” Cahir said. “It is much more efficient than it used to be in the old days so give us a try.”

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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