A microtransit pilot program could soon service Sugar Land through a grant from the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

Sugar Land City Council unanimously approved a grant application to the H-GAC’s Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Commuter and Transit Pilot Program during its May 2 meeting.

The one-year pilot of an on-demand microtransit service, which is an on-demand and shared public transit service using smaller vehicles, is part of the city’s Mobility Master Plan.

The vans would operate in a predetermined, 18-square-mile pilot zone that includes the Sugar Land Business Park, hospitals, grocery stores, Constellation Field, the two Fort Bend Transit Park & Ride lots, Smart Financial Centre, The University of Houston-Sugar Land, and Sugar Land Town Center. Approximately 47,000 residents live within the zone, including the census tracts with the highest number of elderly, car-free or one-car households, according to agenda documents.

Trips will cost an estimated $2. The service will use 5-7 hybrid and fully electric vans, two of which will be wheelchair accessible.

The H-GAC’s federally funded program would cover 80% of the project’s total cost, up to $3 million, according to agenda documents. A one-year pilot service costs an estimated $1.5 million, meaning Sugar Land would need to match $300,000. The city doesn’t have these funds set aside but will request them during the fiscal year 2023-24 budget process.

The H-GAC’s board of directors will select projects for funding in late summer.