Ford Launches On-Demand Bus Service BRIDJ in Kansas City

Kansas City is about to get a boost in its public transportation thanks to a collaboration. The collaboration is between Ford, Bridj and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA).

Bridj is a data-driven pop-up bus company in Kansas City. Ford is teaming up with KCATA and Bridj to roll out a fleet of shuttle vans. The vans will be available to residents with the tap of an app.

Next month ten Ford Transit shuttle buses will start picking up and dropping off passengers. The buses will be manufactured in Kansas City and sporting both Ford and Bridj’s logos.

“Today, we are bringing another transit option to the region with the introduction of microtransit,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA president and CEO.

“By combining the intelligence of Bridj technology with capable and flexible Ford Transit vehicles, we are creating a seamless and borderless transportation network for our residents that is easy to use, comfortable and affordable.”

The buses will specially cater to areas undeserved by existing public transportation in Kansas City. To use the bus service the residents will need the Bridj app available in iOS and Android.

The residents will need to input their location and their destination to the app. Then the residents will then choose from a list of available prearranged times.

The Ford shuttle will arrive at a nearby pop-up bus stop on the pre-arranged times. Selecting a time will be equivalent to reserving a seat on the Ford shuttle as the shuttle can only carry 14 passengers.

“Bridj is thrilled to be the urban technology platform for Ride KC: Bridj,” said Matt George, CEO of Bridj.

“Modernizing urban infrastructure will be the single greatest technology challenge of our time, and this pilot is part of the solution by significantly extending the current capabilities of Kansas City’s mass transit system.”

The one-year pilot program will initially start from certain Kansas City areas. Gradually more neighborhoods will be added as more data is collected on the service.

According to Ford, Bridj, and KCATA, the project is the first U.S. public-private collaboration. It is the first time a major US transit system, an automaker, and an urban technology company have come together. Together they will create a seamless and borderless transportation network which is affordable.

“Our goal is to make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves,” said Erica Klampfl, global mobility solutions manager, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.

“The Ford Smart Mobility plan supports our commitment to innovation, and is aimed specifically at developing smarter mobility services. We are excited that Ford Transit was selected for Ride KC: Bridj because this is one of many projects that will help us gain insights into what works and develop smarter, more connected mobility solutions and service-oriented products.”

“Bridj will be an empowering tool that will offer one more option to make it easier for people to get around,” said KCATA’s Makinen.

“KCATA is a place where bus, bike, streetcar and rapid transit come together to create a seamless and borderless transportation network that’s easy and friendly to use. Bridj will be a valuable addition to Kansas City’s mix of transportation options.”

“Only 18 percent of jobs in the Kansas City region are accessible within 90 minutes when using existing mass transit options,” said Bridj’s George, citing figures from the Brookings Institute.

“By improving access to jobs, Ride KC: Bridj is a catalyst for social and economic opportunity, and an example of what is possible when cities adopt technological innovation and work in collaboration with private entities to create a truly modern city.”

Originally posted in i4u News

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