The RTA is committed to supporting innovative solutions to mobility challenges for riders across northeastern Illinois. The agency has funded several pilot programs over the last few years to help riders connect to transit and explore partnerships that give people more transportation options.
On January 31, 2022, the DuPage Access Program, a pilot partnership between Uber Technologies, Inc., and Pace Suburban Bus, launched to provide ADA paratransit passengers with an alternative to dedicated paratransit. ADA-eligible passengers who live in DuPage County can book within the rides on the Uber app or by phone with rides up to $30 subsidized by Pace.
The program is an implementation step from RTA’s ADA Paratransit Innovation Study published in February 2021. The study called for a “consumer choice” pilot to build upon Pace’s successful Taxi Access Program (TAP) in Chicago that allows ADA Paratransit eligible riders immediate access to a Chicago taxi to meet their transportation needs. Unlike ADA paratransit, there is no need to reserve a trip a day in advance. During the pandemic, Pace waived the $3 fee usually charged for TAP and saw ridership grow.
The DuPage Access Program expands this same-day ADA service into the suburbs with up to $1.1 million of funding from Pace’s 2022 budget, approved as part of the RTA’s Regional Transit Budget in December.
“Pace service will not look the same as it did prior to COVID-19, nor should it. Our world has changed, and we are changing with it. It is important that we focus on the implementation of innovative programs like this to meet the redefined needs of those we serve,” said Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger, in a press release.
In addition to providing an alternative service option, this pilot will help alleviate the challenges that are being experienced due to a nation-wide operator shortage. This is the latest addition to the region’s pilots that explore partnerships with transportation network companies, which have included RTA’s first- and last-mile pilots with Lyft in Oak Brook and Bannockburn and the Connect2Work program in Bedford Park.
RTA shared information about the DuPage Access Program as part of its Quarterly Performance Update to the Board of Directors in February, which spotlights work done to implement the goals of the current regional transit strategic plan, Invest in Transit. Watch the February presentation on YouTube and subscribe to receive updates from the RTA as we develop the region’s next transit strategic plan.
The RTA is also working with the DuPage County Department of Transportation on the first county-wide Mobility plan to provide a coordinated long-term vision and framework for future mobility initiatives in DuPage County. This project has four goals:
- Identify Mobility Gaps: The Plan will identify ways to overcome mobility barriers presented to disadvantaged communities, particularly older adults, people with disabilities, transit-dependent workers, people experiencing economic hardships, and active transportation users.
- Mobility Information: The Plan will assemble existing mobility guides into a single resource and strategy that is easy for DuPage County residents, employers, and employees to use. This will build upon existing guidance and will pull together mobility resources from the many disconnected outlets.
- Employer and Employee Partnerships: Building on the strengths of the existing transit network in the Chicago region, as identified in Invest in Transit, and working with key economic development and workforce stakeholders, the plan will examine strategies and ranges of solutions for first and last mile connections to suburban job clusters.
- Changing the face of Suburbia: The Plan will forge new working alliances with and between DuPage communities to identify strategies that strengthen access to employment, retail, and service opportunities. The Plan will also evaluate changes to zoning or building codes, based in part on the Pace Transit Supportive Guidelines, to create mobility friendly and efficient transportation options in corridors or community targeted locations.
Learn more about the DuPage County Mobility Plan and how to get involved by visiting https://www.thelakotagroup.com/projects/dupagemobilityplan/.