Connect Transit Flex microtransit service to launch Sunday, serving southwest side
Connect Transit on Sunday will launch its new on-demand microtransit service, called Flex, allowing people on the southwest side to book free rides using an app.
Connect Flex formally launches Sunday, with a kickoff set for 10 a.m. Monday at Ferrero’s Beich Road facility. The kickoff event will feature remarks from several speakers, a demonstration of the ride-booking app, and a close-up look at the Flex vehicles.
Flex will provide on-demand rides in an area in Bloomington that generally includes everything south of West Market Street and west of Main/Center streets. People can book rides using the Connect Transit app or by calling (309) 828-9833. It will start as a free service.
The app will let the user select their pickup and dropoff locations and pick the most convenient option provided. The app will show detailed directions to the closest pickup location (typically at a safe street corner) and an estimated pickup time. Once the user is picked up, the app will provide an estimated time of arrival.
“It’s similar to Uber, but it’s very much a shared-ride system, where people shouldn’t expect to get an individual ride. It’s really based on an algorithm that maps where people are riding from and tries to connect as many people as possible during that trip,” Connect Transit general manager David Braun told WGLT last year.
Connect Flex will run weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturdays from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sundays from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“The hours of operation will complement our current fixed route schedules by starting slightly before and running slightly longer to allow connections to be made. This will help people utilizing the fixed route make it back to their destination before our service finishes for the night,” Connect Transit said in a statement this week.
Connect Transit previously said Flex would eventually use electric vehicles, though it would launch with gas-powered vehicles.