The Capital Area Transportation System plans to release an RFP at the end of the month for a firm to operate its new Uber-like microtransit service, which communications director Amie McNaylor says will service neighborhoods that may not have access to CATS routes.

Baker and Southern University/Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport are the two service zones that have been identified for the pilot program, expected to last six months. Program users will be able to schedule a ride from their “origin point” to get fed into CATS’ fixed-route system, McNaylor says.

While that pilot microtransit program would aim to increase the number of riders using CATS service, a second microtransit program being considered by CATS would focus on customers who need paratransit service and live within a certain, fixed distance from the existing fixed route.

Discussions for that paratransit microtransit service, which would serve disabled people, is still preliminary, McNaylor says, but the program would ideally allow riders to schedule transportation to multiple appointments on the same day, which was previously difficult, if not impossible, to do.

“Congressman Garret Graves brought the idea to our CEO,” McNaylor says, adding CATS has been in talks with its contracted paraservice provider, MV Transportation, since the fall. “He’d heard about a successful implementation and thought it may be able to be pursued in this area. We’re exploring it.”

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