According to a Calhoun County Transit study performed by Foursquare ITP, there are approximately 70,000 transit trips provided by current Operators. The estimated demand for annual trips comes to 92,000—leaving a shortfall of over 20,000 passenger trips.
There are coverage and service gaps across the county where transit and tele-transit services do not operate leaving vulnerable populations without transportation or access to amenities.
Many members of society are within a lower income bracket or have accessibility requirements, making vehicle ownership challenging.
This adds pressure to the transit network, as it is a primary means of movement and access to amenity within the County.
Through a Michigan Department of Transportation grant, Battle Creek Transit launched a pilot program to demonstrate the feasibility of an On-Demand transportation system over a 12 month period.
BCGo is an On-Demand microtransit service allowing passengers to book via a mobile App or Call Center. There is a digital payment or unbanked provision allowing passengers to choose how they pay for the service.
There is a customized fare structure based on mileage travelled and passengers are charged a flat fee for additional passengers made on the same booking.
Being a door-to-door service, it affords the most flexible form of Public Transit within the County.
In three short months the service has successfully connected members of the public who previously did not have convenient access to public transportation.
The high interest and uptake of this service has surprised everyone. As a result, multiple local employers and community groups have inquired about involving their people. Battle Creek has offered a standard ‘dial-a-ride’ On-Demand Service for many years but have seen far greater interest in this service. Battle Creek Transit and Liftango are working closely to make continual improvements to the service. The biggest challenge for servicing such a large area is the sheer distance a vehicle must travel for some passenger requests. However, continued development is occurring to ensure passenger demand is met and vehicles are within an optimal distance, to respond to most requests to minimize the need for additional vehicles.