The City of Salem has received a $250,000 Workforce Transportation Program grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. This funding will be used to help launch the City’s forthcoming on-demand ride share shuttle service.
The concept for a shuttle service grew out of a feasibility study that began in 2017 through a partnership between Salem for All Ages, the City’s Department of Traffic and Parking and other stakeholders including Salem State University, North Shore Medical Center, and the North Shore Transportation Management Association. The goal of the study was to identify and implement an affordable and accessible public transit system that could encourage Salem residents to choose a “car-free” or “car-light” lifestyle to help reduce congestion and parking strains. After the in-depth feasibility study was completed, the City issued a Request for Proposals seeking bids from prospective shuttle vendors. The response period closed on January 17, 2020 and the City is now reviewing the proposals, with the goal of selecting a preferred vendor by the end of February, so service can begin in the Spring of 2020.
The funding from the Workforce Transportation Program grant will be combined with dollars donated to the City through its Host Community Agreements with cannabis retailers, as well as its development agreements with new housing developments that are under construction. The goal in combining these multiple funding sources is to keep the shuttle service as low-fare as possible for riders.
“I am grateful to the Baker Administration and our legislators for making this funding available, as well as to our City staff who worked so hard on this grant application,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll. “This funding will help make possible a shuttle service that, we hope, will help reduce traffic on our streets, saving residents money and aggravation, while also helping us meet our climate goals.”