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Delano Area Rapid Transit Moves to Combined On-Demand Service on Saturdays

On July 9th, Delano Area Rapid Transit launched a single vehicle microtransit and paratransit commingled service on Saturdays, with potential to expand this service with more on-demand vehicles covering the Delano area.

Jenna Dhanani

Prior to shifting operations to Spare, Delano Area Rapid Transit focused primarily on its fixed route services and offered a Dial-a-Ride service for eligible customers. The transit agency operates in Delano, California and provides four fixed routes as well as an origin to destination complementary paratransit service for those with disabilities and seniors.

Delano Area minibuses are wheelchair accessible as Delano Area Rapid Transit serves as the complementary ADA paratransit service running alongside the fixed route system and is available to anyone that cannot board the fixed route buses due to disability as per the Americans with Disability Act. All customers using the Dial-a-Ride Service would call in to request a ride, however, Delano Area also offers a subscription model for riders that may require repetitive trips over a period of time to reduce the number of calls needed to book a trip.

With a shift to the Spare platform, Delano Area DART N GO is piloting on-demand transportation to their current passengers as a combined service on Saturday. This means that the Saturday fixed route is combined into the on-demand service. Now, paratransit and microtransit riders share a vehicle to maximize fleet and driver productivity— often referred to as commingling. This means that microtransit and paratransit riders can share rides to destinations in the same area.

Delano Area Rapid Transit’s newest service caters to a wider range of passengers: for instance, those who may not have been able to use the existing fixed routes due to the time length, inaccessible location due to vehicle size or ineligibility for Dial-a-Ride. By expanding the on-demand service beyond paratransit, the demographics of users may change with the commingled route becoming more accessible and optimal for younger generations.

Maria Ceci Jauregui, Transit Supervisor and Trainer for the City of Delano, shared, "From the first meeting to the last conversation with Spare staff, they have been super helpful, always available to answer questions or fix issues that arise as we go. They have arranged weekly meetings with all our staff to help them understand and learn to operate the program properly leading to our launch date. It has been an amazing experience working with such a helpful and easy going team. They have made this transition super easy! We look forward to expanding our service in the future!"

Currently, the Delano Area’s weekday Dial-a-Ride operates with all customers calling in with their requests. If the pilot of the DART N Go with the Spare platform is successful, the agency may look into expanding the commingled route into a weekday and upping their vehicle fleet.