Prioritizing accessibility and innovation, Pace to test afterhours TNC service, continue paratransit service in DuPage and Kane counties, and launch VanGo program in Palatine
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – Pace’s Board of Directors held their March 2023 meeting today, where they voted to approve two new rideshare pilots and continue their critical ADA Paratransit service in DuPage and Kane Counties uninterrupted.
In her report to the Board, Melinda Metzger, Pace’s Executive Director, shared several positive updates, including the award of first place AdWheel Award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for Pace’s recent campaign focusing on soaring gas prices, a surge of applications for bus operator positions thanks to ongoing recruitment events and partnerships with community colleges, and the launch of a new VanGoprogram in Palatine.
Metzger noted that VanGo, “is an innovative approach to first mile/last mile transportation. We have designated two spaces at the Palatine Metra Station, making this the third VanGo location.” The first two VanGo locations are at the Deerfield and Lake Forest Metra stations.
The Pace Board awarded an 18-month contract for rideshare—or transportation network company (TNC)—services to Via. The company will operate accessible vehicles to pick up riders in two areas. One TNC pilot will serve employees commuting from the CTA Blue Line to cargo areas at the south end of O’Hare Airport. The other will serve an area surrounding Pace’s Harvey Transportation Center bounded by 144th St., I-94, I-294, and I-57.
While both areas are already served by Pace fixed routes, these pilots offer first-/last-mile service and operate throughout nighttime and early morning hours when regular service is limited. “If this goes well, obviously we want to try to identify other areas that are similar,” said Chairman Rick Kwasneski. “Throughout the region there are these little gaps, especially where there are three shifts.” The pilots will help Pace determine whether it is suitable, cost-effective, and efficient to incorporate this service type into Pace's family of services. The contract includes six months for planning and a year of service.
Pace’s Board also voted to award a seven-year contract to SCR, an existing paratransit vendor, so that Pace can continue offering paratransit services to residents of DuPage and Kane Counties. Pace also operates its own fixed route and On Demandservices in this region and has partnered with Uber to increase the capacity of DuPage County’s paratransit system.
The Pace Board of Directors meets monthly in Arlington Heights, typically on the third Wednesday of each month at 9:30am. The Board's schedule, along with agendas, minutes, and video recordings, can be found on the Public Meetings page at PaceBus.com, and meetings are streamed live at PaceBus.com/Streaming.