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Microtransit study gets the green light as local transportation officials try to weigh demand, costs

A slide summarizing Lextran's proposed microtransit feasibility study.
A slide summarizing Lextran's proposed microtransit feasibility study.

Lexington city leaders have given the initial go-ahead to study a “microtransit” program.

Lextran has agreed to spend $75,000 on a feasibility study on the program, which has been likened to a publicly-funded Uber-style service for those with disabilities or other special transportation needs.

The study is expected to start in the fall and take around six months.

“We need to set expectations that everyone knows what it is and what it is not. It's not para-transit, it's not fixed route. It’s something new and different and can be successful in the right use cases, and through the study we want to identify where in Lexington those use cases exist and then put the cost component along with that,” Lextran General Manager Fred Combs said.

Combs said he wants to avoid creating a service that can’t deliver.

“If we do at some point get to implement a system, I don't want to put it out and then two years later say well, we can't afford it anymore, we have to take it back. I want something that's sustainable,” he added.

For now, Lextran only has a ballpark estimate of what the service might cost and that’s around $2 million annually.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.