New ‘on demand’ shuttles are big part of changes coming to RTS


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New “on demand” shuttles are hoping to make it easier for people to get from one place to another. 

The vehicles are part of Reimagine RTS, which kicks off on Monday, May 17. 

There are more than 30 on demand vehicles that will cover seven different areas where demand for public transit isn’t as high as it is in the city. Other routes may be disconnected in these areas, so these on demand vehicles are hoping to help bridge that gap. 

“We wanted to provide an option for those folks that live outside the city, where we don’t have a lot of demand, but it still provides an option, and it still is very flexible and in a fact, a better option than what we have today,” said Miguel Velazquez, Chief Operating Officer for RTS. 

Instead of a fixed-route-bus that comes a few times a day, these new vehicles can come to customers when they need a ride. You can schedule your ride on an app up to 12 hours in advance, or right before you need transportation.

“It’s very similar to an Uber or a Lyft, so our drivers have a tablet on the vehicle that tells them who has scheduled a ride, and it’s in order and tells them where to go with GPS, gives them direction exactly where to go to pick up a person and where to drop them off,” Velazquez said. 

The on demand vehicles run every day of the week, but only in the green zones you see in the picture below. Each zone has different times for when shuttles run.

Once you’re in one of these green zones, you can use the app or call to get picked up and dropped off anywhere within the zone.

“As long as you get to one of our pre-described zones, we’re calling them our on demand zones, you can either schedule a ride right there when you get off the bus, or you can schedule it up to 12 hours in advance, “said Tom Brede, the Public Information Officer at RTS. 

Officials with RTS say they hope the new changes, including this on demand shuttle, help make things easier for people.

“We want to provide more option, more flexibility, more reliability and now in these zones they have the ability to use this very convenient of scheduling a ride and getting where they need to go, when they need to go there,” Velazquez said. 

“For the vast, significant, majority of our customers, they are going to have a much better experience. The bus is going to come more often, it’s going to be faster trips… once people get used to it and see what it’s going to offer, people are going to be really happy with it,” Brede said. 

The on-demand vehicles cost $1 if you are connecting to and from a bus. If you are scheduling a custom ride, it will cost $3. RTS Go, which launched last year, caps fair at $3 a day per person, including for on-demand services. 

RTS knows a lot of people have questions about the changes coming. They encourage people to reach out to their customer service line so they can help you better understand the new routes. 

They have expanded their customer service hours every day from 5 am – Midnight through May 30. The service line is: 585-288-1700.

Customers can schedule an on-demand ride by calling 585-288-1700 or using the RTS On Demand app. There are videos on the company’s website that will help explain how to create an account on the app and how to request an on-demand ride. 

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