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On-Demand Paratransit Pilot Program

The MBTA is running a pilot program with ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer on-demand transit service to RIDE customers. You can book trips right from your smartphone, instantly!

You get:

  • Fares as low as $2
  • Shorter wait times
  • Instant, same-day booking
  • Faster trips
  • Access to wheelchair-accessible vehicles

The pilot program has been extended to April 1, 2018. The decision to extend was based on customer feedback and an analysis of the first year of the trial period. 

You can participate in the pilot program and also use The RIDE paratransit services.

Please note, additional changes to the program will take effect in 2018. You will be notified of any changes by emails directly from Uber and Lyft. This webpage will also be updated, so check back regularly.

The On-Demand Paratransit program is still in pilot mode, and the MBTA can change or cancel it at any time. 

Service Comparison

Service Comparison
ServiceTHE RIDEPilot Program
ServiceFareTHE RIDE$3.15 or $5.25 for premium tripsPilot ProgramAs low as $2.00
ServiceBooking TimeframeTHE RIDEAt least 1 day in advancePilot ProgramOn demand - Instant request to dispatch
ServiceDay-of Wait TimeTHE RIDE30-minute windowPilot ProgramAs low as 5 minutes in core service areas
ServiceTrip ReservationsTHE RIDEBy phonePilot ProgramVia smartphone app or phone call (Lyft only)

How to Sign Up

If you’re a RIDE customer, sign up with Uber or Lyft by clicking the link for the company and language you want in the table below. You can only sign up with one company.

ServiceLanguage
Serviceuber_logo_thumb.jpgLanguageEnglishSpanishPortugueseTraditional ChineseRussianVietnameseHaitian Creole
Servicelyft_logo_thumb.jpgLanguageEnglishSpanishPortugueseTraditional ChineseRussianVietnameseHaitian Creole
  1. Follow the prompts on the company’s website.
  2. Download the Uber or Lyft app onto your smartphone and create an account if you don’t already have one (separate from your pilot program enrollment).
  3. Within 2 weeks, if you’re approved, the company will email you with instructions on how to set up your RIDE account.

Please note, if you don't have a smartphone, there are 2 ways for you to participate in the program:

  • Lyft offers a phone-in service for rides.
  • Uber has offered to provide a limited number of RIDE customers with smartphones during the pilot program.

How It Works

Eligibility

All RIDE customers can participate in the pilot program if:

  • You are not currently suspended
  • Your eligibility for The RIDE does not expire during the pilot time period
  • You are not up for renewal of your RIDE membership during the pilot time period
  • You have a valid email address, phone number, and payment method on file with The RIDE

Fares

Each month, you’ll get a limited number of subsidized rides, depending on your RIDE eligibility.

Through December 2017, prices will be as follows:

  • For UberPOOL—You’ll pay the first $1 for the trip and anything over a $41 fare
  • For all other Uber services and all Lyft trips—You’ll pay the first $2 and anything over a $42 fare

Examples of your cost:

  • A $6 trip will cost you $2 and the MBTA will pay $4
  • A $20 trip will cost you $2 and the MBTA will pay $18
  • A $45 trip will cost you $5 and the MBTA will pay $40

Notes about fares:

  • Fares are determined by the ridesharing company and may be subject to dynamic pricing or prime time pricing.
  • Payment is done through the Uber or Lyft app - you cannot use your RIDE account funds to pay for your trip.
  • If you have an issue with a fare or payment, contact Uber or Lyft directly.
  • Tips to drivers are not available for the subsidy.

Service Area and Hours

Subsidized rides are available during regular RIDE hours, 5 AM–1 AM daily.

All of The RIDE’s regular service area is covered under the pilot EXCEPT trips to Logan Airport.

Activating Your Subsidized Rides

Lyft

Your subsidized trips will be added to your account automatically at the beginning of each month.

Uber

  1. Go to the menu in the top left corner.
  2. Pick “RIDER PASS.”
  3. Activate your trips by selecting “Purchase.” Note the charge to activate is $0.

Driver Assistance

If you need help from your door to your ride, help boarding vehicles, or other assistance from a driver, you should consider using The RIDE services for your trip. Uber and Lyft drivers are not required to assist customers in the same way that RIDE drivers are.

How to Order a Ride

  • You can request a ride through whichever company you’ve signed up with—Uber or Lyft—through their smartphone apps.
    • If you’re a Lyft customer, you can use their phone-in service to order a ride. Lyft will provide details to you if you’re approved for their program.
  • Set your pick-up point.
  • Choose your service and vehicle type.
    • Both companies allow you to pick wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
  • Enter your destination.
    • If you change your destination after you request your trip, you may not be eligible for the subsidy.
  • View your fare and your driver's estimated time of arrival.
  • Hit “Request.”
  • Your ride will arrive in no time!

Contact

For questions about your app, trip, or other pilot questions, please contact Lyft/Uber directly.

For questions about your sign-up status, eligible customers will receive further instructions and access to the program via email from Uber or Lyft within 1-2 weeks of sign-up.

Lyft

You can contact Lyft on their website or by mobile app. If you choose to contact them via mobile app, see instructions below:

  • Trip Question 
    1. Click on the profile button (icon with a face in the top left corner)
    2. Click on "Ride History" (3rd option)
    3. Click on the particular trip with the issue
    4. Scroll all the way to the bottom and select "Get Help"
  • General Question
    1. Click on the profile button (icon with a face in the top left corner)
    2. Click on Help (6th option)
    3. Click "Help Center"
    4. Select a specific topic within the FAQ or scroll down to the section titled "Need something else?" and click on "Contact Support"

Uber

You can contact Uber on their website or by mobile app. If you choose to contact them via mobile app, see instructions below:

  • Trip Question
    1. Click on the menu button (icon with 3 lines in the top left corner)
    2. Click "Your Trips" (2nd option)
    3. Click on the particular trip with the issue
    4. Select the specific issue from the list below or select  "I had a different issue", then "I have a question about the MBTA pilot" 
  • General Question
    1. Click on the menu button (icon with three lines in the top left corner)
    2. Click "Help" (5th option)
    3. Select any of the topics related to your issue below
    4. Follow the instructions on the screen

Eligibility Inquiries 

For questions about your eligibility or if you haven’t heard from Uber or Lyft after 72 hours, contact the MBTA at ridepilots@mbta.com.