RTD rolls out FlexRide and Metro Taxi pilot project

FlexRide MetroTaxi Pilot Service Map, March 2021
FlexRide Metro Taxi pilot service map.

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is launching a pilot project that will allow Metro Taxi vehicles to supplement RTD’s FlexRide vehicles in the middle of the day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The pilot launches today and will take place in the Denver Technological Center (DTC) to test operations, customer satisfaction and cost-effectiveness at the following seven zones: Belleview, Orchard, Arapahoe, Dry Creek, North and South Inverness, and Meridian. This allows travel between any of the seven FlexRide service areas with one ride.

With this new service, RTD hopes to accomplish two objectives:

  • Better meet RTD’s customer demand. Metro Taxi will be deployed in instances when regular FlexRide vehicles are unavailable due to prior bookings, rather than denying a customer a trip.
  • Be more cost-effective for RTD. During periods of slow demand, the few trips can be accommodated with taxis instead of fleet vehicles, resulting in a net cost savings by reducing FlexRide fleet vehicle hours.

“This pilot is another way RTD is adapting to the needs of its customers,” said RTD Chief Operations Officer Michael Ford. “This creates a convenient and comprehensive circulator service that provides DTC employees and residents an option to leave their cars at their workplace or home.”

With this service, customers could book FlexRide trips via the new FlexRide app or on their smartphone or computer using FlexRide MobilityDR. MobilityDR is programmed to determine whether FlexRide or Metro Taxi is most appropriate for a requested trip and it will either send an RTD vehicle or a taxi. This offers a simple, seamless approach to the customer and the customer’s estimated time of arrival notification will also include the taxi license plate number if Metro Taxi is the appropriate service.

“This innovation differs from almost all other such pilots across the country where the customer must choose among service provider options before booking and the transit agency may not be able to realize a savings,” Ford added.