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LADOT Operating New ‘LAnow’ MicroTransit Shuttle in Westside Neighborhoods

5:47 PM PDT on March 13, 2019

LADOT’s LAnow microtransit shuttle is now serving Del Rey, Mar Vista, Palms, and Venice. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This story sponsored by Los Angeles Metro to remind readers of traffic pattern changes resulting from Purple Line Construction. Unless noted in the story, Metro is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

Earlier this week, LADOT Transit began offering a new on-demand microtransit shuttle service called LAnow.

The ceremonial kick-off for LAnow took place last week at Mar Vista Gardens. City Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Paul Koretz joined LADOT officials, Mar Vista Gardens leaders, and other community residents to welcome the new service.

Councilmember Bonin at last week's LAnow kick-off
Councilmember Bonin at last week's LAnow kick-off
Bonin, Koretz, LADOT, and community members at last week's L.Anow kick-off
Bonin, Koretz, LADOT, and community members at last week's L.Anow kick-off

LAnow is a one-year pilot, operating eight shuttle vehicles. The service operates from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Fares are $1.50 for adults and $0.75 for seniors and disabled people. Children four years old or younger ride free. Payment can be made via a debit or credit card, or via a Motiv Debit Card for people who are unbanked.

The service area includes Westside L.A. City communities of Del Mar, Mar Vista, Palms, and Venice - including the Metro Expo Line Palms Station.

Map of LAnow service area - via LADOT
Map of LAnow service area - via LADOT

Riders with smartphones can download the LAnow app. Alternatively, folks with no access to a smartphone can call (818) 493-6211.

The on-demand LAnow service operates somewhat like a shared ride-hail - similar to Lyft Line or Uber Pool. It does not operate door-to-door, but pools riders at pick-up/drop-off spots in the service area. LADOT materials state that these spots are within a quarter-mile of destinations within the service area.

Streetsblog tried out the app and found it a bit awkward to use, though it probably gets easier with practice.

The app initially displays the service area map.

Service area map as displayed in LAnow app
Service area map as displayed in LAnow app

The in-app map looks slightly different than the published service area. Presumably this is due to the service going to the pick-up/drop-off sites a quarter-mile from destinations.

Upon selecting "book trip" the user is prompted to  enter their origin and destination.

LAnow app screen for booking a trip
LAnow app screen for booking a trip

When selecting a destination, this editor expected to see a map of pick-up/drop-off sites. That map does not appear anywhere in the app - apparently the pooling locations may be dynamic? Instead of selecting on a map, one types in a location - an address or place name.

LAnow app destination display
LAnow app destination display

The app displays destinations inside the service area as well as outside of it, including far away locations. If one selects a destination outside the service area, the app will select the in-area drop-off site closest to the location selected. For example, if a user selects LAX, the app returns "Mesmer Ave. and Centinela Blvd. -  5709 Mesmer Ave." That location is a three-mile walk from LAX, but it is the closest drop-off site in the service area. (Stickler note: it should properly read Centinela Ave. not Blvd. This is incorrect in the app and on the LAnow service area map four images above.)

Poking around on the app and inputting known places in the service area did yield drop-off points within a couple blocks.

The service is explained more in LADOT's promotional video below.

For the month of March, LAnow is offering riders first two trips free. Get started by downloading the LAnow app, calling (818) 493-6211, or go to the LADOT LAnow website.

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