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On-Demand Paratransit Pilot Program

The MBTA is running a pilot program with ridesharing companies Uber, Lyft, and Curb to offer on-demand transit service to RIDE customers. You can book trips right from your smartphone, instantly—or call in for concierge service.

You get:

  • Trips as low as $2 (paid to Uber, Lyft, or Curb)
  • Shorter wait times
  • Instant, same-day booking
  • Faster trips
  • Access wheelchair-accessible vehicles

The pilot program’s newest addition, Curb, offers RIDE customers on-demand taxi trips in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville.

The pilot program has been extended to January 1, 2019, but is subject to change or cancellation during this period.

You can participate in the pilot program and also use The RIDE paratransit services. Pilot participation has no impact on your RIDE eligibility.

Please note: Uber/Lyft/Curb drivers do not provide ADA Complementary Paratransit service. Customers seeking ADA Complementary Paratransit service should continue to use The RIDE.

The On-Demand Paratransit program is still in pilot mode, and the MBTA can change or cancel it at any time.


Service Comparison

ServiceTHE RIDEPilot Program
ServicePriceTHE RIDE$3.15 or $5.25 for premium tripsPilot ProgramAs low as $2.00
ServiceBooking TimeframeTHE RIDEAt least 1 day in advancePilot ProgramOn demand, instant request to dispatch
ServiceDay-of Wait TimeTHE RIDE30-minute windowPilot ProgramAs low as 5 minutes in core service areas
ServiceTrip ReservationsTHE RIDEBy phonePilot ProgramVia smartphone app (Uber, Lyft, Curb) or phone call (Lyft and Curb only)

How to Sign Up

If you’re a RIDE customer, sign up with Uber, Lyft, or Curb by clicking the link for the company and language you want below. You can only sign up with one company:

Instructions

  1. Follow the prompts on the company’s website.
  2. Download the app onto your smartphone* and create an account (if you don’t already have one). Please note that this is separate from your pilot program enrollment.
  3. If you're approved, the company will email you with instructions on how to set up your RIDE account within 2 weeks.

*If you don't have a smartphone, you can call Lyft and Curb to book rides. After you've been approved, instructions on how to set up you account and call to book rides will be provided.


How It Works

All RIDE customers can participate in the pilot program if:

  • They are not currently suspended
  • Their eligibility for The RIDE does not expire during the pilot time period
  • They are not up for renewal of your RIDE membership during the pilot time period
  • They have a valid email address, phone number, and payment method on file with The RIDE

Each month, you’ll get a limited number of subsidized rides, based on historical RIDE use. The MBTA may adjust its subsidy structure periodically during the pilot period. Currently, the maximum subsidy for each trip is $40.

  • For UberPOOL: You’ll pay the first $1 for the trip and anything over a $41 total trip cost
  • For all other Uber services, all Lyft trips, and all Curb trips: You'll pay the first $2 and anything over a $42 total trip cost

Examples of your cost:

  • For a $6 trip, you’ll pay Uber/Lyft/Curb $2, and the MBTA will pay Uber/Lyft/Curb the remaining $4
  • A $20 trip will cost you $2, and the MBTA will pay $18
  • A $45 trip will cost you $5, and the MBTA will pay $40

Notes about trip costs:

  • Pricing is determined by the ridesharing company and may be subject to dynamic pricing or prime time pricing.
  • You cannot use your RIDE account funds to pay for your trip. Instead, you must create an account on Uber, Lyft, or Curb. All 3 companies allow you to link credit or debit cards. Curb also allows you to pay your co-pay in cash to the taxi driver.
  • If you have an issue with payment, contact Uber, Lyft, or Curb directly.

Tipping drivers:

  • Tips to drivers on Uber and Lyft are not covered by the subsidy.
  • Curb does not allow tips to drivers.

Uber and Lyft cover all of The RIDE’s regular service area.

Curb only covers Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville.

Lyft

Your subsidized trips will be added to your account automatically at the beginning of each month.

Uber

  1. Go to the menu in the top left corner.
  2. Pick “RIDER PASS.”
  3. Activate your trips by selecting “Purchase.” Note the charge to activate is $0.

Curb

  1. Go to the Curb app menu
  2. Select "Payments"
  3. Confirm that "MBTA" is set as your default payment method

If you need help from your door to your ride, help boarding vehicles, or other assistance from a driver, you should consider using The RIDE services for your trip. Uber, Lyft, and Curb drivers are not required to assist customers in the same way that RIDE drivers are.


How to Book a Trip

  1. You can request a ride through whichever company you’ve signed up with—Uber, Lyft or Curb—through their smartphone apps.
    • If you're a Lyft or Curb customer, you can use their phone-in services to book a trip. Lyft and Curb will provide details to you if you’re approved for their program.
  2. Set your pick-up point.
  3. Choose your service and vehicle type.
    • All 3 companies allow you to pick wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
  4. Enter your destination.
    • If you change your destination after you request your trip, you may not be eligible for the subsidy.
  5. View the trip cost and your driver's estimated time of arrival.
  6. Hit “Request.”
  7. Your ride will arrive in no time!

Contact

For questions about your sign-up status, eligible customers will receive further instructions and access to the program via email from Uber or Lyft within 1-2 weeks of sign-up.

For questions about your app, trip, or other pilot questions, please contact Lyft/Uber directly:

Contact Lyft

You can contact Lyft on their website or by mobile app. If you choose to contact them via mobile app, see instructions below:

  1. Click on the profile button (icon with a face in the top left corner)
  2. Click on "Ride History" (3rd option)
  3. Click on the particular trip with the issue
  4. Scroll all the way to the bottom and select "Get Help"
  1. Click on the profile button (icon with a face in the top left corner)
  2. Click on Help (6th option)
  3. Click "Help Center"
  4. Select a specific topic within the FAQ or scroll down to the section titled "Need something else?" and click on "Contact Support"

Contact Uber

You can contact Uber on their website or by mobile app. If you choose to contact them via mobile app, see instructions below:

  1. Click on the menu button (icon with 3 lines in the top left corner)
  2. Click "Your Trips" (2nd option)
  3. Click on the particular trip with the issue
  4. Select the specific issue from the list below or select  "I had a different issue", then "I have a question about the MBTA pilot" 
  1. Click on the menu button (icon with three lines in the top left corner)
  2. Click "Help" (5th option)
  3. Select any of the topics related to your issue below
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen

Contact Curb

You can contact Curb on their website, email support@gocurb.com, or call 617-300-0771.

Eligibility Inquiries 

For questions about your eligibility or if you haven’t heard from Uber, Lyft, or Curb after 72 hours, contact the MBTA at ridepilots@mbta.com.