June 17, 2021

Gp Delivers

The excellent automotive artisans

Self-driving vehicle service launches in Arlington

Forget Uber. Move over, Lyft. In Arlington, you can catch a self-driving ride.

The city now has a small fleet of self-driving vehicles that will work alongside the city’s other transportation options.

Called RAPID — Rideshare, Automation and Payment Integration Demonstration — the program allows people to book self-driving vehicles through the Via Rideshare app or by calling 817-784-7382. The vehicles include four hybrid Lexus RX 450h SUVs as well as an electric Polaris GEM, which is wheelchair accessible.

For now, rides run throughout downtown and The University of Texas at Arlington, but the city said it is exploring additional uses for autonomous transportation technology. The service is available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

While the vehicles are self-driving, a trained attendant will be in the driver’s seat to ensure safe operations and provide customer service. Riders are required to wear face masks because of COVID-19 and additional safety measures include a partition separating the attendant and a daily deep cleaning.

The program is a partnership with Via Rideshare, May Mobility and UT Arlington, through a $1.7 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. It is the first program in the United States to integrate on-demand autonomous vehicles into an existing public transportation service, according to the city.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams rides in a self-driving vehicle as the city debuts RAPID (Rideshare, Automation, and Payment Integration Demonstration). The city of Arlington, May Mobility, and UTA unveiled its Autonomous vehicle service in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. (Lawrence Jenkins)
Applicants to The University of Texas at Arlington will have the option of providing SAT and ACT scores through summer 2023.

UT Arlington students will receive a few free rides, thanks to the university’s role in the pilot program, but will eventually be charged the same rate as every other passenger.

That fare system charges riders based on mileage, with a maximum charge of $5.

  • 0 to 1.5 mile ride: $3
  • 1.5 to 3 mile ride: $3.50
  • 3 to 4.5 mile ride: $4
  • 4.5 to 6 mile ride: $4.50
  • 6 mile and up ride: $5

Arlington, once known as the largest U.S. city without a public transportation system, said the project aims to improve public transportation within the city but also provide a blueprint for expanding transportation options in other communities. UT Arlington researchers plan to evaluate the program, including rider perceptions, potential gaps in service and strategies to overcome any challenges, according to the city.