Birmingham’s micro-transit experiment mentioned by The Hustle newsletter

Via On Demand App Birmingham's micro-transit experiment mentioned by The Hustle newsletter
Birmingham’s micro-transit experiment has been in the news lately. Photo courtesy of Via

Birmingham’s micro-transit experiment has been getting some national attention. Read on to see what national newsletter The Hustle said about Birmingham’s micro-transit, as well as several ways Birmingham is cutting down on traffic.

National Attention

Via On Demand Family 1 Birmingham's micro-transit experiment mentioned by The Hustle newsletter
Micro-transit can give folks in the city several new options to get around. Photo courtesy of Via

The Hustle, a fun daily newsletter focused on tech and business news, recently mentioned Birmingham in an article about public transit. In the age of social distancing, buses, subways and other public transit options are running on empty. For instance, public transit in Lubbock, Texas is down 50%. On the other hand, micro-transit projects are just getting started. Essentially, micro-transit is publicly-funded Uber Pool.

In addition to its social-distancing benefits, micro-transit can help clear up downtown traffic. Instead of each individual driving their car to downtown every morning, imagine if half of those people took a micro-transit option like Birmingham’s On-Demand.

3 Steps Birmingham is Taking to Clear up Traffic

Micro-transit is just one of several tools in the City of Birmingham’s transportation toolbox. Birmingham is taking several steps to make transport in The Magic City as easy and stress-free as possible.

1. Birmingham On-Demand

Via On Demand App 3 Birmingham's micro-transit experiment mentioned by The Hustle newsletter
Download the app! Photo from Via

Launched back in December, Birmingham On-Demand is a corner-to-corner public ride-sharing program powered by Via. The six-month pilot program is funded by the City of Birmingham and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

Screen Shot 2019 11 14 at 4.52.49 PM Birmingham's micro-transit experiment mentioned by The Hustle newsletter
The Birmingham On-Demand zone. Photo via City of Birmingham

Birmingham On-Demand is just like Uber or Lyft—but at a fraction of a cost. For just $1.50, you can book a quick trip to most of downtown and a section of West Birmingham.

To use Birmingham On-Demand, simply download the app—available for free on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. And if you don’t have a smartphone, you can always give Birmingham On-Demand a call at 205.236.0768.

2. Parkmobile

IMG 5627 Birmingham's micro-transit experiment mentioned by The Hustle newsletter
On July 1, Birmingham rolled out the new ParkMobile stickers—no quarters required. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

As of July 1, you don’t need change to park in downtown Birmingham. The City of Birmingham slapped special ParkMobile stickers on roughly 4,000 parking meters throughout the city. With the free app, residents and visitors can pay for their parking through their phones.

Parking with ParkMobile is as easy as picking up a mobile order from Chick-Fil-A:

  1. Enter the zone number posted on stickers and signs around the meter.
  2. Select the amount of time needed.
  3. Touch the “Start Parking” button to begin the session. 

ParkMobile is a major step in Birmingham’s mission to modernizing the parking situation in downtown. Birmingham has also planned additional parking decks to keep up with demand.

3. Smart Cities Collaborative

Curb management
The Smart Cities Collaborative aims to find the best solution to curb management. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

In January, Birmingham joined 12 other cities in a nationwide, peer-learning program known as the Smart Cities Collaborative in order to improve the management of the city’s curbs.

Curbs are important. They form a link between transportation and local businesses—which explains why they’re in such high demand. You’ve got parking, trash pickup, and water management all competing for the same space used by micro-mobility, outdoor restaurant seating and pedestrians.

The year-long Smart Cities Collaborative program allows cities to share ideas, test theoretical mobility services and provide valuable insights. This conversation helps these cities each develop the best practices that encourage and improve accessibility in city life.

It’s no wonder The Hustle mentioned Birmingham! It’s clear that the City takes public transit seriously. Share your thoughts by tagging @bhamnow on social media!

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer + Photographer

Articles: 918