Sum and Substance: There are two broad categories of microtransit: One is services like Chariot and Bridj, which operate commuting shuttles in certain areas based on user demand. Then there are several services that let you split a ride with people nearby who need to get to a similar destination — including CabCorner, Via, UberPool, and Lyft Line. So far, these microtransit companies only operate in a handful of cities. But their backers hope they could one day do for public transit what Uber has done for cab rides.
My Take: This is part of the ongoing evolution of urban transit – further iterations towards greater efficiency. The idea of Microtransit has been around for awhile with shuttle busses and more recently, UberPool and Lyftline. But now other startup apps with variations on this theme are much more technologically sophisticated. The main question is whether the startups can get ridership up high enough so they can compete with Uber and Lyft on price. It’s the network effect question that’s so paramount in this industry.