The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) recently introduced GoZone, a new on-demand ridesharing service. GoZone is different from other ridesharing services in that it is hyperlocal and serves specific zones within Denton County. GoZone operates seven days a week and currently costs $0.75 per ride.
“We have two zones, Lewisville/Highland Village and Denton. We have virtual pickup locations scattered between both zones, staged at areas strategically based on demand curves and where popular spots tend to be,” said Javier Trilla, Assistant Vice President of Innovation & Information Technology at DCTA.
Another unique feature is the ability to book a ride through the DCTA GoZone app or by calling the customer service number at 940-243-0077.
The option to call into the customer service number and book a ride was a purposeful decision since not everybody has a mobile device. One difference to note is that the service is not exactly the same as Uber, which takes riders from door to door.
“It will get you very close,” Trilla said. “GoZone has more coverage than a fixed route would have but I think that is the biggest misconception— that the service is equal to Uber or Lift type services.”
Virtual stops are scattered throughout the communities based on public feedback, safe pickup locations and an ultimate goal of coverage throughout the community.
“GoZone is unique in that unlike a fixed route, it’s based on the coverage of the entire [zone]. It’s just a matter of filling in points throughout the cities based on feedback from the community, board of directions and third party Via,” Trilla said.
GoZone users can move their pin on the GoZone app. Using the algorithm, the closest virtual stop will be selected and the user will be notified of where to meet their ride.
“If you are a few blocks outside [a zone] and you have the ability to walk or find another way to that pickup location, you could move your pin,” Trilla said. “You can move your pin within the zone and the system will recognize where you want to be picked up and it will tell you where to walk to your pickup point.”
The GoZone service has been used in several unique ways, said Pamela Burns, Director of Public Involvement and Communications.
“We have heard from so many people about how much they love the service,” she said. “Parents are excited about it for their high school kids that aren’t driving yet. They can get their kids to and from things like baseball, band practice and other after-school activities since children 13 and above can ride with adult permission but without an adult present.”
Ridership at DCTA has returned to pre-pandemic levels thanks to GoZone.
“We have picked up riders that would normally not have opted for public transit. It’s the ease of the service plus people love to book rides through mobile services. The service is very inexpensive,” Trilla said. “We are learning a lot as we go and taking customer and rider feedback and working with our contractor to solve any complaints or issues that come up.”
With GoZone, users can add up to five additional passengers for $0.75 each. If a DCTA fare pass is used, only one person can use it and the other passenger's fare cost will be automatically charged to the credit/debit card on file. DCTA Fare Passes, credit cards and exact change are accepted.
“The person who books the ride is responsible for the cost. You can go into the app and select the number of passengers,” Trilla said. “If passengers book individually then there is no guarantee that they will ride together. One person should book the trip for all individuals that are going to ride with them.”
For more information on GoZone visit dctagozone.net or call customer service at 940-243-0077.
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