Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct ridership numbers. We regret the error.
TOPEKA (KSNT) – Topeka’s new micro transit service has been up and running for nearly three months now. City leaders tell 27 News that while the program is still in its early days, the response so far has been promising. Now, the city is working to get the word out to even more people about the new service.
Keri Renner is the Director of Marketing and Communication for Topeka Metro. She says Metro-On-Demand, or MOD, offers a more personalized mass transit option than traditional bus service.
Topeka’s buses run either every hour or half hour, and travelers must go to a bus station or bus stop to catch a ride. That can make catching a bus difficult for many travelers.
“MOD is on demand instant, almost,” Renner said. “If you book your ride, they’ll probably come and get you within seven or eight minutes. And it’s curb-to-curb.”
MOD offers that personalized service at no additional cost. It costs just $2 to either ride the bus or use MOD to get to your destination.
MOD has given more than 500 rides since its inception on January 30. Renner said they initially weren’t sure what to expect, but these numbers show they might be on to something that works.
“We were pretty excited about that. We weren’t really sure what to expect. So, it’s gone really well and we’re very excited about it,” Renner said.
Right now, MOD only covers the southeast section of Topeka. It’s in an area where Renner said bus ridership has dwindled in recent years, and offering regular bus service was costing the city money. With the popularity of micro transit in other parts of the country and state, they decided to give it a try.
So far, Renner said the results have been fantastic. She hopes the early success they’re seeing with micro transit in southeast Topeka may allow them to expand the service in the future.
“We weren’t really sure what to expect. It has gone really well, but we want to make sure that it’s successful,” Renner said. “We really just want to make sure that we get this under our belt first before we do anything else, but it could be a possibility in the future.”
Renner said the city has sent out postcards to residents in the area currently served by MOD to get the word out about the service. She says riders can book and pay by credit or debit on the mobile app or website, or you can pay by cash in person.