On May 7th, the Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART) and its technology consultant – HBSS Connect Corp, jointly announced the expansion of workforce transportation in five communities: Sterling, Shirley, Bolton, Ayer and Lancaster, as well as the Devens Enterprise Zone. “We are initiating new microtransit services with QRyde technology supplied by HBSS Connect Corp”, stated Bruno Fisher, Deputy Administrator at MART, “which we will deploy to expand our prior success with microtransit in Fitchburg to other communities in our service area.”
HBSS Connect Corp is headquartered in Lowell, Massachusetts, where it developed its proprietary “brokered transportation technology”, called QRyde. Previously in 2020, MART utilized the QRyde technology in a pilot microtransit project in Fitchburg which was highly successful. HBSS President and CEO, Himanshu Bhatnagar stated, “Our mission is to implement door-to-door transportation at public transit prices.” The QRyde technology is used to schedule riders to be picked up at home and taken to their destination using existing transportation resources (providers) that have open seats. “This model has proven successful for employers, employees and other groups seeking transportation”, Bhatnagar said.
The grant funded pilot program will officially kickoff on Friday – May 7, 2021 at 11AM at an event to be held at Devens at the Hilton Garden Inn. Senator Jamie Eldridge (D – Middlesex and Worcester) will deliver keynote remarks. The event is also expected to be attended by several regional employers and several local Councils on Aging, as well as elected officials and representatives from each of the five communities. In addition, representatives from MART and HBSS will present a brief program on the planned expansion of services and the goals of the program. This program will be used to provide transportation supports to the workforce of the Montachusett and Devens region.
The implementation will be rolled out using an app for personal use, in addition to a call center. “All parties will be trained and supported during this rollout. It is expected to be operational over the next several months” Fisher stated. This project is a collaboration to raise the effectiveness of the existing shuttle and van services already operated or managed by MART and is funded through a competitive grant awarded to MART by the MassDOT. It is intended to assist employers, employees and local Councils on Aging to provide transportation to work. Bhatnagar said, “Working with MART again will be a great assist to the region’s workforce transportation needs.”