New Orleans RTA launches FLEX on-demand pilot program

Aug. 23, 2022
The program aims to increase service for riders with disabilities in New Orleans East.

The FLEX pilot program was launched by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA).  

The 12-month pilot will allow current New Orleans RTA paratransit clients living in East New Orleans to book on-demand services within Orleans Parish. The project seeks to provide enhanced mobility and connectivity for residents of East New Orleans with plans for future expansion to other areas around the city. 

"The RTA Board of Commissioners is excited for the launch of the FLEX pilot," said Mark Raymond, Jr., RTA Board chair. "This pilot will allow residents of East New Orleans with low incomes, seniors and persons with disabilities to assist with making vital transportation connections that are often inaccessible due to distance. This pilot is an example of the board's commitment to prioritize that all riders have equitable transit services no matter their mobility needs." 

In June 2020, New Orleans RTA was awarded $300,000 through Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Mobility for All Pilot Program. The agency utilized the funding to purchase three wheelchair lift-equipped vehicles to transport clients. Riders can preschedule pick-ups and request "on-demand" return trips using the UBER smartphone app designed specifically for this project. 

"As the RTA continues to build a world-class transit system for our riders, it is imperative that we continue to make advancements to enhance all riders' experience," said Alex Z. Wiggins, CEO, New Orleans RTA. "The FLEX pilot is just the beginning for the agency as we explore additional mobility solutions to meet the ever-changing transit landscape within the industry and our city. We look forward to expanding this program to additional areas of the city and giving our riders options that increase mobility services." 

The FTA's 2020 Mobility for All Pilot Program seeks to improve mobility options through employing innovative coordination of transportation strategies and building partnerships to better service riders with disabilities in underserved communities. The RTA was one of 17 projects in 16 states awarded funding to improve mobility and access to public transportation for older adults, people with disabilities and individuals of low income.