Town and Village

MOOver to expand service

A pilot program in Brattleboro will operate later on weeknights for riders who book trips in advance

BRATTLEBORO-Southeast Vermont Transit (SEVT, aka the MOOver) and the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) announce the start of a new microtransit service in Brattleboro on April 15.

According to SEVT CEO Randy Schoonmaker, microtransit "is a system like Uber with a van."

This new service is nicknamed the MicroMOO2; the original MicroMOO service is operated in Windsor. It will run from 5 to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, and is free of charge and open to everyone.

Trips must start and end within the town of Brattleboro, must be booked in advance, and cannot be hailed along the street. The vehicle is a seven-seat, lift-equipped, all-wheel-drive Ford Transit with the distinctive Holstein graphics.

An app and a PC-based portal called QRyde will be used to book rides, or riders can call the SEVT office at 888-869-6287 until 4:45 p.m. from Monday to Friday to arrange a trip or multiple future trips.

Schoonmaker said the service is designed to complement Brattleboro's existing three-fixed-route bus system, which enjoys very high ridership. Those routes end between 5 and 5:45 p.m., so the MicroMOO2 service is designed to pick up where the fixed routes leave off.

It is hoped that riders will use the system for medical appointments, shopping, employment (particularly for second- and third-shift staff), after-school activities, and municipal or social events.

SEVT's other microtransit service, the MicroMOO in Windsor, has been operating from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. midweek since January 2023. Ridership for the first 12 months was 6,693 and is averaging 29 rides a day. Brattleboro's hoped-for average is 50 rides per day. Windsor is one of five microtransit pilots funded by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans).

The BDCC is funding 100% of the cost with a grant from the Northern Borders WIOA Dislocated Worker National Reserve Demonstration program. That funding is projected to last until December 2024.

Schoonmaker said SEVT has applied for additional funding from the town of Brattleboro Human Services Program, and SEVT will apply for funds from VTrans this spring in an effort to continue the program past the end of this year. If no other funds become available, the program will cease operations.

"The MOOver is so fortunate to have the support of the BDCC, the town of Brattleboro and our riders," said Schoonmaker. "We look forward to the launch and we are already working on additional funding sources to continue this program, which has the potential to positively impact the quality of life in Brattleboro."

Public meetings on how to use the system and the app will be held before April 15 at times and places to be announced. For more information go to microtransit.

This Town and Village item was submitted to The Commons.

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