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On-demand community transportation

Some transit authorities, municipalities, and human service agencies are piloting on-demand community transportation services for older adults, people with disabilities, and/or the general public.

On-demand transportation means if you are within the service area, the vehicle will come to you or close to you – but unlike traditional demand-response or dial-a-ride services, you do not need to reserve in advance. You can summon the ride when you are ready to travel.

There are two types of on-demand service:

  • Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) – also called ridehail or rideshare (for example, Uber and Lyft)
  • Microtransit – through technology, the public sector can offer on-demand service using dedicated vehicles and drivers

Riders typically summon on-demand rides through an app, but some services allow riders to call to request a ride.

Table of Contents

Expanding community mobility with microtransit

Regional Transit Authorities and municipalities are piloting microtransit in various communities of Massachusetts.

Regional Transit Authority examples

Many other Regional Transit Authorities are also piloting microtransit. To find out if microtransit is available in your community, contact your transit authority.

Municipal examples

Expanding community mobility with TNCs

In Massachusetts, organizations are partnering with TNCs to provide subsidized rides and enhance mobility for transportation-disadvantaged populations, including older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals. For example:

Learn more about some of these examples in our report from 2019 or this 2018 MAPC report.

Additional Resources

Assisting riders in using on-demand options

  • TRIPPS offers a multi-day instructional lesson that teaches participants how to download and use Uber and Lyft apps. The workshop culminates in riders pairing up to summon and take a trip on either Uber or Lyft in order to put their learning into practice. TRIPPS is an initiative of the Brookline Council on Aging. TRIPPS created a set of videos on using ride-hailing apps and other transit technology.
  • GoGo schedules Uber and Lyft rides for callers, for an additional fee
  • Lively phone users can use their phones to schedule Lyft trips for an additional fee

TNCs in Massachusetts

National research

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