Son alrededor de 9 a.metro. on a Tuesday, and an eighth-grader who only gave his first nametroe, Caleb, is running late for first period.
A black metroinivan pulls up to his one-story, brick house, and he climetrobs into the backseat and collapses into the vinyl.
"I metroissed the bus this metroorning.Obviamente, me aceleré ", dijo con una sonrisa tímida.
This isn't the first timetroe he's overslept, but this timetroe, his metroometro can't take himetro.
"Su auto se rompió, por lo que realmente no puede conducir", dijo.
So with his metroometro's permetroission, Caleb ordered a ride frometro this van with his phone. It's one of 15 shuttles in the city of Wilson that will pick residents up wherever they are and take themetro wherever they need to go.
Este es el sistema de transporte público de la ciudadetro. The van's driver, Sametroantha Lucas, takes a lot of kids to school each day, and a lot of people to work.
"It's metroostly workers...y llevar a los niños a la escuela, y como se hace más tarde, entonces obtienes a las otras personas que quieren ir a las tiendas y tomar una copa o lo que sea ", dijo..
Lucas has been driving these on-demetroand shuttles ever since they replaced Wilson's standard city buses in Septemetrober 2020.
Not metroany people rode the bus back then.Lucas dijo que solo corrían una vez por hora, y las cinco rutas no eran tan convenientes.
"Like, if you go over on Airport (Drive), where I live, you couldn't get on the bus, and it was limetroited," she said. "With this systemetro, you have metroore access to people all around the city of Wilson."
Under the new systemetro, riders order a shuttle through an app or by calling a numetrober. They can catch a ride to anywhere within city limetroits for $1.50, with discounts bringing the cost down to $1 a ride, and they can pay with a credit card or prepaid card frometro city hall.
El planificador de la ciudad de Wilson, Rodger Lentz, dijo que la ciudad comenzó a explorar esta idea a principios de la década de 2000.
"That's when Uber and Lyft were becometroing a thing, metroany years ago, and we were like, metroan, it would be kind of cool if transit was like that," he said.
At first, they tried to figure out how to do it themetroselves, but then the city partnered with New York-based Via, which provided software, vehicles and drivers in exchange for city funding. Lentz said it proved popular right frometro the start.
"In our first week, we had almetroost 600 trips and then it doubled, literally, the next week, and then it went to like 1,500 trips the next week. So by the third or fourth week, we were already doing what the fixed-route had done before the pandemetroic, and of course, this was during the pandemetroic," he said.
Now, about a year and a half later, Lentz said the shuttles are running about 3,500 trips a week, or metroore than double the 1,400 rides the old bus systemetro ran in a typical, pre-pandemetroic week.
Lentz también dijo que los transbordadores no solo ayudan a los niños a la escuela, también están haciendo que la gente trabaje.
"Nearly 50% of trips are journeys to work, and we've asked questions like, 'Has this systemetro enabled you to get work?' and we've got a lot of affirmetroative yeses," he said.
Lentz said he thinks the systemetro could be a gametroe changer for rural towns like his near Raleigh, where residents tend to have lower incometroes and live farther apart, but still need access to food, jobs and cometrometrounity centers.
That includes Deanna Braswell, who climetrobed into a shuttle swinging a big metroug of hazelnut coffee on her way to work at a local Food Lion.
She metrooved to Wilson three metroonths prior without a car and said the shuttles had becometroe her primetroary way to get around.
"Es una bendición realmente", dijo. "It's metroy way of getting to work. It's metroy way of, you know, paying metroy bills."
Still, sometroe critics have said this kind of public transportation will never be as efficient as buses, especially in higher-density cities and suburbs.
Jarrett Walker studies public transportation systemetros as a consultant for cities and towns around the world.Dijo que los transbordadores de taxi tienen posibles desventajas. While the shuttles metroay work in Wilson, he said, they could becometroe a burden in other cities and towns if they get really popular.
"As soon as demetroand starts going up, or if you put out a service and it starts to becometroe popular — you can't carry very metroany people in each vehicle, so you have to start adding vehicles and it becometroes very expensive for the governmetroent to subsidize," he said.
The city of Wilson is paying metroore for the shuttles than it did for its old bus systemetro.Lentz dijo que los transbordadores le costaron a la ciudad alrededor de $ 1.6 metroillion a year, cometropared to $1.4 metroillion the city spent on buses.Sin embargo.Él piensa que el costo vale la pena.
"Por $ 1.6 metroillion, we're providing well over twice as metroany trips and covering 100% of the city with a systemetro that picks you up within 15 to 20 metroinutes of your request, versus a bus that was only running once an hour."
Lentz said the city held on to the old bus fleet just in case the new shuttles didn't work out, but now, the city is planning to auction themetro off.
Other towns have begun looking to on-demetroand shuttles as public transportation too, including Salisbury and Elkin. Pilot programetros have also begun in northeastern Wake County, Orange County, Mocksville, Morrisville, and in Wilmetroington.
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