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Cheyenne Transit Program connects urban and rural as rider demand increases

Goal

Adapt a rapidly growing service to rider and operational needs with flexible software and innovative transit strategy.

Overview

Cheyenne, Wyoming, is home to Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration. It is also home to many citizens who rely on the Cheyenne Transit Program’s (CTP) commingled paratransit and microtransit service to maneuver throughout the city. CTP uses the same vehicles to transport microtransit and paratransit passengers at the same time. CTP shifted from a manual booking system to a fully automated software with Spare, which includes a rider facing app. This is especially important to Cheyenne Transit Program’s ridership, which includes seniors over the age of 60, individuals with disabilities, those who can’t afford to drive or do not have access to a driver’s license and general public riders.

A portion of the agency’s ridership is located in the county and not in the city, where many transit options were previously not available. In addition, many essential services such as the driver’s license office, and large employers are in the more rural areas, asserting CTP as a connector between rural and urban communities.

With the success of CTP’s switch to on demand transit, the agency had encountered unprecedented growth with ridership growing by 140% since the launch. High influxes of calls to the dispatch center and many riders requiring connections between urban and rural areas give rise to unforeseen obstacles.

Partner
Cheyenne Transit Program
Location
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Launch
October 2021
Service Type
Microtransit, Paratransit

Challenges

  • A large surge in demand for transportation in Cheyenne culminated in unanticipated and extreme ridership growth
  • Dispatchers had to manually allocate and schedule rides which was not efficient
  • Call center workers were encountering high call volumes which was exacerbated by each phone call averaging 6 minutes in length
  • A wide-reaching spread between riders in rural and urban areas

Solution

Assessing rider behavior on the Spare platform, CTP implemented a “checkpoint” route operating stop by stop. The existing commingled on demand service will be adapted to serve as a first mile last mile solution for the new checkpoint service. The introduction of another service, on-demand, enlarged the service area as well, providing access to the county including truck stops, restaurants and Driver Licensing Office.

Call center dispatchers were trained to ask key questions to quickly gather the necessary information when dealing with riders that call in. In addition, a recording directing those on hold to download and use the Cheyenne Transit Program rider facing app also encouraged riders to have more control over their trips as well.

"Spare is exciting. They offer many amazing things. The customer service at Spare is the one thing I have bragged on since the day we started our contract, because they never make me wait. I always have an answer very quickly. And they're open to feedback. The flexibility of the product was a surprise to me—I didn't realize how much we could do with it. I know Spare is constantly upgrading and updating and we're here to grow with them."

Renae Jording, Director, Cheyenne Transit Program
Renae JordingDirector, Cheyenne Transit Program

Results

Since first introducing on demand transit in 2020, CTP’s ridership has soared 140%. The flexibility offered by Spare makes for the adaptation of CTP’s existing joint microtransit and paratransit service to integrate into a stop to stop route, which alleviates the strain on its demand responsive service. Training call center staff has slashed call time to an average of two minutes, a third of what it was previously.

Cheyenne Transit Program now offers mobility options where it previously did not operate. The expanded service area, now 18 square miles and covering 75% of the city limits, connects the rural and urban areas of Cheyenne. Employment opportunities in the county are now accessible with the adaptation to Cheyenne’s service—at least 15 people now work in the area that previously couldn’t and that number is expected to grow.

An unplanned yet positive outcome are the friendships that bloom on commingled rides: a large portion of Cheyenne Transit Program riders are seniors. The social interactions that take place on transit are a source of happiness for many riders.

Time spent on a phone call
-67%
Service area
18 sq miles
Coverage of city limits
75%
Ridership growth since launch
140%