Richmond to study feasibility of personal micro transit system

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Richmond to study feasibility of personal micro transit system
Glydcar (Photo courtesy of Glydways LLC)

By Kathy Chouteau

With plans in the works to install a 28-mile autonomous vehicle personal micro transit system connecting Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley and Pittsburg, the City of Richmond is looking into the possibility of installing a similar system to connect West Contra Costa cities and transit hubs.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Richmond City Council approved a Feasibility Study of a Dynamic Personal Micro Transit (DPMT) system that would connect Richmond and other West County cities to transportation hubs like the Richmond Ferry, Richmond BART and Hilltop Mall. Councilmembers Cesar Zepeda and Claudia Jimenez proposed the study.

The project would fill a need in the community for transit services in the first and last mile to and from destinations, the councilmembers said in the meeting’s agenda report. 

The councilmembers’ proposal follows news of a quartet of East County cities’ plan to install a 28-mile autonomous vehicle personal micro transit system to connect them. Glydways LLC’s autonomous vehicles are called Glydcars and are only five feet wide and electric, so there are zero emissions and low infrastructure costs, according to an ABC-7 TV report.

Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley and Pittsburg partnered with Glydways in Fall 2020 to complete the East Contra Costa County DPMT Feasibility Study at a cost of $80,000, according to the agenda report. Ultimately, the study indicated that DPMT is feasible in East County with numerous potential benefits, including job creation, congestion relief and increased transit access.

Bolstered by East County’s study and findings, Richmond City staff previously met with Glydways LLC and recommended exploring the viability of this service locally, according to the agenda report.

The system’s cost currently is undetermined, as the report indicated city staff will prepare a cost analysis when the item returns to the Richmond City Council for budget allocation.