LADOT Operating New ‘LAnow’ MicroTransit Shuttle in Westside Neighborhoods
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.