The city of Sioux Falls is beginning to lay the groundwork for a new on-demand bus ride pilot program they plan to launch in 2020.

The move is an effort by the city to improve the public transportation system here in the Sioux Empire. As KDLT TV reports, city buses now move along fixed routes. They travel those same routes every day at the same scheduled times.

The new program, if adopted, would create an on-demand option that uses data and autonomous vehicle routing software to change where city buses are going based on where passengers actually want to go.

Before deciding on whether to employ this on-demand option on a permanent basis, city officials want to test this mass transit on-demand system to see if it will be a good fit for Sioux Falls. Hence the reason for the upcoming pilot program rollout.

According to KDLT, starting next year, the city plans to test the on-demand pilot program on Saturdays because it will impact fewer people. Residents wishing to use the city bus system can schedule rides via their smartphones, landline or computer. Riders will then receive a pick-up location, which will be within zero to three blocks of their location.

The city plans to keep the bus fares the same while the on-demand pilot program is being tested. Currently, people can ride Sioux Falls city buses for $1.50.

Allie Hartzler, Innovation Coordinator for the city of Sioux Fall told KDLT, "We don’t want there to be any barriers for someone to try this new system. That isn’t to say in the future we won't re-evaluate that system. But for the pilot program, we believe the fares should be consistent."

The city of Sioux Falls plans to run the on-demand bus ride pilot program for about a year. If things continue to stay on schedule, it should launch sometime in the summer or early fall of 2020.

Source: KDLT TV