newsgoodbye uber city of harrisonburg has plans for its own on demand ridesharing service

Goodbye, Uber: Harrisonburg has plans for its own on-demand ridesharing service

Crystal Graham
online survey
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The Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation is seeking public input on a Microtransit program to ensure the new service fills the needs of the community.

An on-demand ridesharing service, HDPT Microtransit, will soon launch in Harrisonburg. Much like HDPT’s other services – which include providing school bus service for Harrisonburg City Public Schools, transit bus service throughout the city and at James Madison University, and paratransit service for individuals with disabilities – the Microtransit program will utilize city vehicles and be driven by city employees.

Patrons will be able to book their ride with a mobile app or by phone and track the progress of the vehicle until it arrives at a designated pickup location, much like other popular rideshare services. The city-run program will provide reliable availability; safe, secure service; ADA-accessible vehicles; and late-night service.

“As we continue to look for more and better ways to serve our community, we identified ridesharing as a vital addition to our other transportation options – especially for those who get out of work after our traditional services cease in the evening or for those looking to go Downtown for dining or events and need a safe way to get home,” HDPT Director Gerald Gatobu said. “We hope future patrons of HDPT’s Microtransit will use this survey opportunity to let us know how best this new service can support them as they live, work and play in Harrisonburg.”

The survey asks questions like what times they would like the service to be offered, what areas of the city the program should serve, and what they value most in a rideshare program.

The community is encouraged to take part in an online survey.

Paper copies of the survey are available at 475 E. Washington St., and at City Hall, 409 S. Main St.

The survey will be available until April 21.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.