December 19 2019

Selectmen Give Go-Ahead to Ride Sharing Pilot Program to Replace B-Line

By: Tad Stephanak

Back in September Town Meeting approved $50,000 from the transit budget for a pilot public transportation program using Uber, Lyft and taxis to replace the B-Line. 

At the most recent meeting of the Board of Selectmen Town Administrator Paul Sagarino announced that the state has agreed to provide $50,000 in matching funds.

“Which validates the promise of the program were undertaking,” he said.

Sagarino noted the time and effort by DPW Director John Sanchez and Council on Aging Director Marge McDonald before they presented the official proposal. 

Sanchez told the board he believes they are replacing the B-Line with a better system and explained how the program will operate.  

Any resident of Burlington over the age of 60 is eligible for the program. As are residents with a disability or whose household income is below 300 percent of the federal poverty line. Program travel is limited to within Massachusetts.

Sanchez explained the first $1 for any ride will be paid by the rider and the town will then cover $10 of the ride. Any additional cost incurred over that initial $11 will be the responsibility of the rider. 

“The reason we set the structure like this is in Burlington most rides, if not all, are less than $11 if you were to use a system like Uber or Lyft,” Sanchez stated. 

Selectmen Chair Joe Mordani asked how they plan on getting the information out to residents about the new program.

Sanchez said they will reach out to those who use the transit system. He noted the B-Line bus will be running until the end of June while they are doing the pilot program.

Selectmen Nick Priest asked how payment will work. 

Sanchez explained people that qualify will be assigned an account number, probably their phone number. Through that number the service will know what the passenger qualifies for. 

“It will be automatic, it will be seamless to the user,” Sanchez said.

Morandi spoke positively on the program, but did reiterate that it is a pilot program so there will be some kinks and bugs to work out. 

The Board of Selectmen voted 5-0-0 in favor of moving forward with pilot program.


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