A new on-demand ride service will be piloted this spring to bring residents in remote areas of Dryden to TCAT’s Route 43 bus stops, enabling them to travel anywhere in its service areas much easier than before.
Often referred to as “transit deserts,” sparsely populated communities can be found across the U.S., where it’s expensive to run public transit lines and thus difficult to impossible for those living there to get where they need to go without a personal vehicle.
The solution being explored in Dryden: Technology.
Tompkins County transportation leaders have partnered with a cutting-edge software company to develop a low-cost app called “Tconnect,” which will provide on-demand rides to downtown Dryden for residents who live outside of reasonable walking distance.
Set to launch in April, the two-year pilot project was supported by a nearly $260k grant from the state Energy Research and Development Authority.
The first three of a series of informational meeting are scheduled February 12, February 17 and February 22 in the Dryden area with more being planned, according to TCAT and its project partners.
“I applaud TCAT and Dryden for their commitment to launching a pilot program that moves the State toward Governor Cuomo’s clean energy and climate goals while providing a valuable service for rural residents seeking public transportation options,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton. “To combat climate change, we need to deliver equitable and meaningful results at an unparalleled pace and the success of this highly-replicable, low-cost pilot program will help reduce the number of cars on the road, lower harmful emissions within our communities, and safeguard our natural resources.”
Details on the first three meetings are as follows:
- Wed., February 12 – 8 a.m. at the Village of Dryden’s offices, 16 South Street, Dryden
- Mon., February 17 – 2 p.m. at Southworth Library, 24 W. Main St., Dryden
- Sat., February 22 – 10 a.m., Poets Landing Community Room, 4 T.S. Eliot Drive, Dryden
“Our hope is that Tconnect will provide a unique solution to what is known as the “first-mile, last-mile” connectivity problem many communities all across the country have been grappling with for a very long time,” said TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool.
Riders can take advantage of a one-month free trial period from the day of launch in early April.
Cost for the program is still under review, but project leaders said they will strive to make it as affordable as possible. Riders will pay regular fare when boarding a TCAT bus.
More details will be available later this year.