Hitch a ride in a Metris van or a GLC hybrid.
Anyone who has ever visited Los Angeles knows getting around the city can be stressful. Traffic is rage inducing, public transport is limited, and rideshare services like Uber can be expensive if used frequently. Automakers have been seeking a solution to transportation woes such as this by investing in their own rideshare services.
Mercedes-Benz models will be used by a new partnership called FlexLA between FASTLinkDTLA, a project designed to improve traffic in LA, and Moovel, the leading provider of mobile ticketing applications in North America. The goal of this new partnership is to provide affordable transportation for LA residents.
LA residents will be able to hitch a ride in a Mercedes Metris van or GLC hybrid driven by salaried US military veterans. Not only will this service provide affordable transportation, but also jobs for military veterans in search of work.
FASTLinkDTLA has worked with several veteran programs to hire drivers who will be using a fleet of vehicles instead of their personal cars. The fleet will even have ADA-accessible vehicles for customers with wheelchairs and mobility devices.
Unlike Uber, FlexLA won't take you directly to your destination. Instead, the service will drop passengers off at virtual stops along with fellow riders who are heading in the same direction. The goal is to help people get where they need to go in the evenings when public transport is less frequent.
"Many workers and residents in Downtown LA are left with few transportation options during the late-night hours when public transit service is less frequent,” said FAST Executive Director Hilary Norton. “FlexLA fills a gap in the city’s transportation network, offering Angelenos a safe, reliable transportation option that connects with public transit, and provides a more predictable cost than private rideshare services. FASTLinkDTLA will actively seek feedback from riders and the community to grow and evolve the FlexLA service to ensure it is meeting the needs of people who live, work and visit Downtown L.A.”
Actual pricing doesn't seem to be available, but FlexLA says it will charge a reduced fair during the pilot. In the future, customers will pay "a competitive flat-rate fare, with discounted fares available for qualifying low-income Angelenos."