Toyota Mobility Foundation Supports Metropolitan Evansville Transit System (METS) and Via to Launch On-Demand Micro-Transit Program, METS Micro

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The Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) is announcing the launch of METS Micro, an on-demand, app-based public transit pilot service in partnership with micro-transit provider Via, the Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization (Evansville MPO), and Energy Systems Network (ESN). This is the fourth of four projects within TMF’s Together in Motion initiative.

METS Micro will officially launch on November 28 with the goal of using innovative software to expand access to transportation in Evansville. METS Micro will allow anyone within a designated service zone in southeast Evansville to book an on-demand ride through the METS Micro app (available in Google Play and App Store or by calling 812-562-5011).

Upon booking a ride, Via’s intelligent algorithms match riders headed in the same direction into one shared vehicle to create quick, efficient shared trips. This model provides a flexible transit option designed to extend the reach of METS’ existing offerings by providing coverage in areas where fixed-route buses cannot efficiently reach.

METS Micro will be available Monday to Saturday from 6:15 a.m. to 12 a.m. and on Sundays from 6:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. Rides will cost $2. There are four Toyota Sienna minivans included in the fleet, with two of the four outfitted as wheelchair accessible.

METS Micro is part of Toyota Mobility Foundation’s Together in Motion initiative, a program established in collaboration with Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). TMF played important roles in the planning behind METS Micro―from hosting community workshops to define local mobility needs, to providing matching funds with the City, to coordinating stakeholder engagement.

“The METS Micro pilot in Evansville is an expansion of our Together in Motion initiative that exemplifies the power of collaboration between local and state public and private entities, setting the stage for achieving greater equity in transportation access,” said Ryan Klem, Director of Programs at the Toyota Mobility Foundation. “Our hope is that the learnings from this pilot can help enhance the quality of life for the people of Evansville and might serve as an example for other cities to emulate in the future.”

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said, “The launch of METS Micro stands as a testament to the hard work, innovation, and dedication of our entire team. Collaborating with Via and benefiting from the generous support of Toyota Mobility Foundation and Energy Systems Network, we’re not just enhancing our transit system―we’re envisioning a brighter, more connected future for Evansville.”

Todd Robertson, Executive Director for the City of Evansville Transportation Services added, “With help and two years of innovative thinking, even though it’s a pilot program, I am glad to see another affordable transit opportunity in Evansville and look forward to its expansion in the future.”

Additional key contributions came from partner ESN, who purchased two Toyota Sienna minivans for the pilot using IEDC grant funds. ESN partnered with BraunAbility and Model1 to customize them to be wheelchair accessible. ESN acquired the vehicles through another local business, Evansville-based Toyota dealer Kenny Kent.

Prior to this Evansville micro-transit trial, TMF conducted two autonomous vehicle trials and one contactless delivery trial as part of the Together in Motion initiative in the state of Indiana. While Together in Motion is rooted in Indiana as a starting point, TMF is looking to extend the initiative into other regions.

For more information on how to ride with METS Micro, please visit: city.ridewithvia.com/metsmicro

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