All Things Considered

Metro Transit sees momentum as it tests its home grown ride-hailing app

a blue and white shuttle van pulls away from a store
A Metro Transit shuttle van pulls away from a grocery store in north Minneapolis. The van is part of its micro service, an app-based, on-demand ride-hailing service.
Metro Transit

For nearly a year, Metro Transit has been piloting its own ride-hailing app in north Minneapolis. Officials say micro fills an important need that complements rather than competes with corporate giants Uber and Lyft. While still small, demand is growing.

Micro offers on-demand, door-to-door rides for the same cost as local bus fare. Users, however, aren’t guaranteed a private ride on the shuttle-style bus and distances and hours are limited. It runs from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on weekends.

Metro Transit, though, sees the pilot as a success, Adam Harrington, the agency’s director of service development, told MPR News.

“Back when we started in September, we had ridership that was in the 50s range per day, and now we're up to 200 to 250 rides a day,” he said. “So we're really happy with how it's working. And it provides a good basis for trying the service in other places.”

Micro enhances Metro Transit’s current services, Harrington said.

He gave the example of a trip to the grocery store. Customers don’t stop using their regular bus routes but may choose micro on a day they have a lot of bags to carry. Parts of North Minneapolis aren’t connected to major bus routes, so micro can act as a transfer to those lines, he added.