Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday afternoon that the state will launch a paratransit partnership pilot program with Uber and Lyft.
The yearlong program will help handicapped riders get to locations when they are not able to provide 24 hours notice, as is required for those using The RIDE, the MBTA’s current paratransit program. Registered users can request a ride through Uber, Lyft, or multiple Boston-area taxi providers on demand. Lyft is also offering a concierge service for those who feel more comfortable requesting a ride over the phone. Wheelchair -accessible vehicles will also be available on request.
Riders will be responsible for paying the first $2 of each ride, with the next $13 being paid for by the MBTA. After the first $15 for each ride, riders will be responsible for any further charges. There will also be a $3.15 set fare for customers with a minimum of one day’s advance notice.
MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack and MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve joined Baker at the Perkins School for the Blind to announce the program.
“The reliability of our transportation system depends on the MBTA’s ability to improve its core infrastructure and provide efficient, innovative transit options that meet the needs of the system’s one million daily riders,” Governor Baker said in a statement. “This initiative represents the MBTA’s efforts to increase accessibility in a more cost-effective and efficient way that also delivers more convenient service for its paratransit customers.”
“This is an exciting next step in enhancing and expanding THE RIDE’s service by reducing passenger wait times and increasing access to jobs, education, errands, and social activities,” Lyft Boston General Manager Tyler George said. “Regardless of mobility needs, all customers of THE RIDE will be able enjoy access to Lyft rides, which we believe will result in an improved quality of life. We will fully equip our driver platform with wheelchair accessible vehicles, making it easier than ever to request a vehicle with a ramp.”
Registration for the program starts Friday. RIDE-eligible users approved will receive app access to request on-demand services.