Metro announced Friday that it is pursuing a partnership with Via, a ride sharing company, to offer discounted rides to and from three of its key stations in an effort to close the "first/last mile gap" for its customers.
This project will be supported in part by a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration's Mobility on Demand Sandbox Program.
Using a mobile app similar to Uber and Lyft, customers will be able to book a seat in a shared vehicle going to or from three major Metro stations. Which stations are going to be used in the collaboration will be decided in the next few months, Metro said.
Via specializes in pooled transportation by matching customers all headed in the same direction.
"We're making our systems more inclusive -- because access to public transportation is a right, not a privilege," said Metro Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Everyone should be able to make a trip on Metro buses and trains, and these funds will help more riders get where they're going quickly and conveniently."
Metro said it will ensure that the rides are affordable for customers and will provide a payment solution for people who do not have a bank account.
The project is part of a two-region partnership between Los Angeles County, King County Metro and Sound Transit in Washington state where each region will be testing a new partnership with a transportation network company.
"Our goal at Metro is to grow our service to provide more options and connections," Metro CEO Phillip A Washington said. "We think this project has the potential to help us reach out to more people and, hopefully, make their lives easier."
Metro said it is finalizing the agreement with Via with a goal of starting the project in summer 2018.
"Via's shared ride technology is perfect for connecting more people to public transit. Metro is committed to offering innovative services to the public, and we are excited to help Metro solve the first and last mile challenge and help millions of new passengers take advantage of other public transportation options," said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via.