New Chandler Flex service starting this week - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

New Chandler Flex service starting this week

July 4th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
New Chandler Flex service starting this week
Community
2

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

Some south and central Chandler residents have a new transportation option starting soon.
Chandler Flex is a van service that offers many of the features of an Uber or Lyft, without the higher cost.

The city received a two-year grant to run the micro-transit program and is hoping to secure more funding to continue, and expand the program in the future. The service is scheduled for a soft launch on July 12 and a kickoff event on July 14.

There is no bus service available for most of that area.

Jason Crampton, the city’s senior transportation planner, gave a presentation of the program to the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board on June 22.

“This is a brand-new concept for public transportation that we’re excited to share,” Crampton said. “It could be a huge benefit to students at CUSD, particularly high school and junior high students. We actually got funded to operate the service for two years through A for Arizona [a nonprofit education organization], because they saw such potential in assisting students getting to and from school.”

The service area is mostly in and around the Price Road Employment Corridor. It goes from Chandler Boulevard in the north, to Chandler Heights Road in the south. It includes most of the area from Old Price Road to Hamilton from west to east.

An extended area that goes further north and east is just for students.

Chandler Flex is being run by a private company, Via. It will operate similar to an Uber or Lyft. A resident calls for a ride on their phone app. It will keep the resident updated on where exactly the van is, and when it will arrive. It should take about 15 minutes to be picked up. The plan is that it should not take more than 30 minutes.

To speed up the service, residents may have to walk a short distance to be picked up at a specific location. The walk should be no more than a tenth of a mile, Crampton said.

“This will help the vehicles not have to deviate too far, and add time to other passengers’ rides,” he said.

And unlike Uber or Lyft, you may have to share a ride with other residents. However, that will be limited.

There will be no charge at the start as the city tries to build interest in the program. Rides must be within the service area. If the resident needs to go outside that area, they will be dropped off at an appropriate transit location where they can switch vehicles.

After the introductory period, there may be a nominal charge for using the service. The hope is that it will remain free for students. However, Crampton said if the demand is too high, they may have to charge the students a dollar to keep from being overrun with ride requests.

The service will include both Chandler and Hamilton high schools at the start.

“As far as the operations go, and the service would operate Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.,” Crampton said. “Again, five vehicles during the peak hours. And then during the middle of the day, when there’s less usage, we’ll have two vehicles out there.”

Crampton said children 13 and older could use the service without an adult. However, younger than that an adult needs to travel with them. Anyone under 18 needs parental consent to ride. The verification for that is all done on the app.

He added that the drivers have been trained to deal with most situations, including angry riders. Each of the vans have security cameras to record what’s happening inside and encourage riders to be on their best behavior.

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