USA: South Dakota City Focuses on Innovation With New Transit Provider

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A transit company has been chosen by Sioux Falls to run its transportation system. For transit users in South Dakota’s largest city, the move promises to bring fresh innovations and efficiencies.

The largest city in South Dakota’s public transportation system will immediately switch to a new service provider, opening the door for new features like on-demand transit that are powered by cutting-edge technology.

Sioux Falls, S. D., will start the new year by partnering with Via as its transit provider, with regular service continuing” as is “while the company gets oriented. First Transit/Transdev and Sioux Area Metro (SAM) have been working together.

Co-Cief Operating Officer Alex Lavoie of Via, stated that SAM will be run “end to end,” which includes hiring all city administrative staff, including drivers and maintenance personnel.

In an email, Lavoie stated that “Via is excited to begin a tech-forward and rider-centric transportation approach for Sioux Falls that is rooted in accessibility, efficiency, and data. This will enable Sioux Falls to assess the cost per ride and accessibility of each available route, which will help guide future transit system plans.”

Via will present new employment opportunities to all present SAM employees. Via hopes to offer innovative transit options for Sioux Falls, a city of 193,000 people, by concentrating on efficiency.

Jeff Eckhoff, director of planning and development services in Sioux Falls, stated: “as part of our agreement with Via, they will do an in-depth look at our present Transit Development Plan.” It is anticipated that our residents will have more opportunities to use our transit system if there is a composite system of fixed routes, paratransit, and microtransits. We believe that technology upgrades will be a part of this, based on our conversations with Via.

Via played a key role in reimagining transit as an on-demand service, where users can use little, shared transit vehicles to get to the service and access it via an app or call center. In places with poor fixed-route service, such as suburbs or smaller cities, the model has proven successful. The smaller, historic city of Winchester, Virginia, just switched from a fixed-route service to Via’s on-demand microtransit system.

Dan Hoffman, the city manager for Winchester, who was speaking on a panel at the most recent Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo, stated that Via’s novel operation there is anticipated to increase ridership from 155 000 per year to 222 000 riders. Winchester will see a slight increase in the cost of the service, but the price per passenger drops from $11.29 to $10.86.

According to Eckhoff Via stood out in the selection process because of its dedication to technology and innovation.
“Via takes a rider-first approach that is driven by data.” Their expertise in a variety of modes and technologies will aid in the reimagining of public transportation in our community, ensuring that today’s riders needs are met while also driving forward innovation.

Viktor Musil

Victor Musil, pen name for Edouard Py, advocates for inclusive, people-centered city development. His work underscores the importance of ethical considerations and equitable access, shaping the discourse on urban innovation worldwide.

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