JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Every day, people depend on some sort of transportation to run errands, go to work or attend classes. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority provides an alternative to driving -- offering public transportation through bus routes or shuttle services.
But now, more and more people are opting for on-demand transportation using ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
So JTA is getting in on that action.
"Over the past few years, [customers'] wants and needs are changing, and we realize we need to embrace all of these options and work collaboratively to make sure we take care of our customers,” said Leigh Ann Rassler, spokeswoman for JTA.
To cater to the rising demand for ride-sharing services, JTA is offering a new option: ReadiRide.
It will be much like Uber and Lyft, where users can request a ride for themselves or a group. But they don't have to use an app. They can simply call for a ride or make a future reservation.
It's a fixed cost of $2 per person, per trip. If you are transferring to or from a JTA bus stop, it's only 50 cents.
ReadiRide service is cash only and operates Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in five specific zones at the Beaches, Highlands, Northside, Southeast and Southwest areas. Trips must begin and end within the same zone.
"Several of [the zones] are part of our current community shuttles zones, and those community shuttles are going to discontinue on Dec. 3 when we launch our new service changes," Rassler explained.
ReadiRide will be run by Owl Inc., which is contracting with JTA. Hired drivers will be trained to run passenger vans that are wheelchair-accessible. The vans will have a specific branding so they are recognizable to passengers.
JTA is also adding other options for getting around town, including:
- A Red Line route from downtown to the beaches.
- Nassau Express connecting downtown Jacksonville to Yulee.
- Additional Park-n-Ride locations.
To make ReadiRide reservations, call 904-679-4555. You can schedule two hours prior to pickup or make a reservation weeks in advance. There will be an app related to ReadiRide announced at a later date as another option for making reservations, JTA said.