Bloomington Transit (BT) is replacing late night bus routes with Uber and Lyft -- at the city’s expense.
Currently, bus drivers start their last trip on weekdays at 11:10 p.m., and the new service will push that time to 9:10 p.m.
“[Late night] trips are still important,” BT general manager John Connell said. “But they're fewer and less frequent.”
To maintain service, riders can enter a discount code worth $19 between 9 p.m. and midnight. Riders will need to pay for the first $1 of the trip, and any cost over $20.
Connell said this change would address the fact that BT is short 14 drivers and employees have been forced to work overtime.
“We would be able to scale back operations, save some hours, reallocate hours, to put service on the street when the demand is the highest,” he said.
Connell said Routes 6 and 9, which focus on the Indiana University campus, will continue to operate late night routes.
“The primary areas of campus are excluded from eligibility for the program, because the fixed route service will continue to be in place,” he said.
Connell said the pilot program also blends into BT’s upcoming strategic planning process.
“We look at mobility options of the future,” he said. “Traditional fixed route transportation may not be the best alternative for most people.”
The pilot project was scheduled to begin May 9, but BT delayed it until late June. BT will reassess the service after six months.
“Some individuals may find that this application allows them to get from point A to point B without a transfer,” he said.
Riders without access to Uber and Lyft mobile apps and riders with mobility devices will be able to call BT at (812) 336-7433 to set up a ride.