NEWTON, MA — Newton is set to have another option for commuters next week, according to the city.
Newton in Motion, or “NewMo,” the ride-share transit program for older Newton residents, kicked off in 2019, to rave reviews from riders. Now, thanks to a grant, it is expanding to more commuters, according to Green Newton and the Newton Needham Chamber.
Patch has reached out to the city for comment.
The city introduced a government-subsidized ride-share program with rides as low as 50 cents for senior citizens making trips around the city two years ago. It was similar to Uber and Lyft, but the algorithm the driver uses to pick up rides is more efficient, according to company spokespersons, Patch previously reported. For the past two years it was only for Newton seniors older than 60 and acted as a replacement for the taxi voucher system the city had with Veteran’s Taxi.
Riders can call a number in addition to reserving a ride on their phone. And a Mercedes van with the words “Newton in Motion” emblazoned on the side and driver will be there within 5 to 30 minutes of the request. No ride will take longer than 30 minutes, officials said at the time.
The service is part shuttle, part Uber. And as with the first version, it won’t take a rider just anywhere in the city —there’s a list of spots folks can get to using the service online from their home. The goal for the first version was to get people to and from the senior center, villages, medical appointments and to specified destinations, primarily in Newton without hassle. The goal for the updated version is to provide workers and commuters with access to the last mile of transit to village hubs, according to Green Newton.
The on-demand micro transit system will operate weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., between:
- Newton Highlands, Needham Street, Wells Avenue, and UMass Mount Ida
- Newtonville commuter rail, Needham Heights commuter rail
- Chestnut Hill, Newton Centre, Newton Highlands Green Line stations.
It’s a pilot program that has been subsidized with grant funding for one year, according to the Newton Needham Chamber.
Each ride will cost $2. To put that in perspective, a Lyft ride from the commuter rail to the Shops at Chestnut Hill might cost around $14. A ride on the MBTA costs around $2.60 from Boston to Newton Highlands.
The city is offering employers to enroll in the program to help workers or customers get from public transportation hubs to their shops and restaurants.