CUPERTINO — By way of a system modeled after rideshare apps similar to Uber and Lyft, the town of Cupertino quickly could also be trotting out shuttles that permit anybody to request one for a journey to and from any vacation spot inside metropolis boundaries.
Though the pilot shuttle program is anticipated to price the town about $2.1 million, officers consider it’ll be definitely worth the expense by decreasing site visitors congestion.
At its assembly Tuesday, the Metropolis Council directed workers to return with a proper proposal for paying the app firm By way of to run 10, six-passenger shuttles for a fare, probably $3.50 a journey. Not like Uber or Lyft, riders would stroll as much as about 1,300 toes to board the shuttles and get dropped off near their closing vacation spot so the service can function as effectively as attainable. Disabled or aged residents would get picked up immediately.
By way of already operates pilot shuttle applications in West Sacramento and Los Angeles, and supplies the expertise for comparable companies in Marin and Orange counties.
“I believe we have to experiment, given the VTA (Valley Transportation Authority) service is so extremely poor,” councilman Rod Sinks mentioned.
The town initially thought-about a shuttle service with a hard and fast round route, however in the end decided that might be too gradual and rigid for residents, who in response to a group survey largely drive vehicles to get round and don’t take buses.
Customers would use By way of’s app or name a cellphone quantity to e-book a journey to and from anyplace inside Cupertino, in addition to to the Caltrain station in Sunnyvale and Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Heart in Santa Clara. The shuttles would run 6 a.m. to eight p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to five p.m. Saturday.
The general price might change relying on what fare the town costs and the way this system is structured. Some shuttle and bus companies, for instance, cost a flat fare regardless of how far somebody rides whereas others divide their service space into zones and cost riders based mostly on what number of zones they cross.
Metropolis workers recommended a fare construction an identical to West Sacramento’s, which costs riders a flat fare of $3.50, or $1.75 for seniors and other people with disabilities. It additionally gives a $15 weekly cross that enables as much as 4 rides a day.
Council members supported the thought, however disagreed in regards to the total price of this system and the way a lot to cost riders.
Fares for bus and shuttle transportation sometimes recoup a low proportion of the particular service bills, however a fare that’s too excessive may not entice sufficient riders.
This system, as proposed, would get better about $40 per shuttle per hour, in response to metropolis workers.
Vice Mayor Liang Chao requested whether or not the system might cost residents and non-residents totally different fares.
Sinks mentioned he would help charging some riders greater than others.
“If an individual is heading as much as the town for a job, I’m OK with that particular person paying considerably greater than a senior citizen or somebody who’s income-challenged,” Sinks mentioned. “I believe it’s OK as a social coverage to have some folks paying extra and a few folks paying much less.
Councilman Darcy Paul mentioned he would moderately see the shuttle service be fully free.
“That’s a big quantity of transit we’d be taking off single-use automobiles,” Paul mentioned.
If the shuttle had been free, Paul mentioned he would think about limiting how usually somebody can use the service every day.
“If we backed it fully, we’d in all probability should have fairly well-thought-out guidelines with regard to how usually somebody might use it … what if somebody decides to make use of it as an everyday commuter?” Paul mentioned.
“Which is why it shouldn’t be free,” Mayor Steven Scharf responded. “(However) it shouldn’t be $5.”
The general price of this system might vary between $1.7 million and $2.four million, in response to transportation planner Chris Corrao.
At a earlier assembly, some council members recommended Apple ought to pitch in for the price of this system, by means of both a one-time donation or by serving to to cowl ongoing bills because it has an enormous work pressure that contributes to space site visitors. The corporate’s Apple Park headquarters employs roughly 25,000 folks.
“It’s a terrific thought, however how will we fund this on an ongoing foundation? We don’t actually have somebody like Google who’s prepared to step up,” Scharf mentioned, referring to the search large’s extra conventional worker shuttle system. “I’m simply involved about what we’re going to chop to fund the shuttle.”
Apple already is negotiating with the town over funding for bike and pedestrian transportation initiatives in a bid to stop a attainable enhance in enterprise license charges based mostly on the variety of workers.
However the firm isn’t involved in funding “one thing that hasn’t been confirmed” and former conversations have centered on bike and pedestrian enchancment initiatives, not shuttles, mentioned Interim Public Works Directer Roger Lee.
Metropolis workers will return to the Metropolis Council with a extra concrete proposal in coming weeks. The council will think about that together with all different new finances requests at a research session on April 30.
If this system is authorised together with the ultimate finances in June, the shuttle program might be working by the tip of this summer season, in response to Corrao.
Contact Thy Vo at 408-200-1055 or [email protected]