Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Wave launches tri-county ride-sharing microtransit service, free for first month

A new fleet of RideMICRO vans will carry riders across the Cape Fear region through ride-sharing. (Courtesy Wave Transit)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. –– A regional ride-sharing microtransit service launched Monday, designed to connect those in need of transportation in areas outside of previously established public stops to the greater Wilmington area. 

Wave Transit’s RideMICRO program is rolling out in phases, with the first opening up free rides between northern Brunswick County, downtown Wilmington, and Hampstead through Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. 

RELATED: New microtransit program could reestablish lost New Hanover-Brunswick public connection

Rides will thereafter be available for a small fee; the first 30 days of the forthcoming zones, which will connect southern New Hanover County in Monkey Junction and Carolina Beach (set to open in December) and northern New Hanover County in Wrightsboro and Castle Hayne (planned to launch in spring 2022) to the program.

Microtransit is designed to be responsive, economical, and accessible,” Marie Parker, executive director of Wave Transit said in a press release. “It is very similar to a private app-based rideshare but will be an extension of our current transit network.”

The program will be more cost-effective than a traditional fixed-route service. It will operate on demand, servicing only riders who have called for a ride (and by January 2022, request through an app).

A fleet of 14 passenger vans and full-size SUVs will transport passengers through the new service, each donning blue and white RideMICRO branding. 

Once the app launches early next year, passengers can track and book their rides through their phones.

The new one-year pilot program fills in a service gap left open by the removal of Wave Transit’s Brunswick Connector in August 2020, after 16 years in service. 

It is 100% funded by the N.C. Department of Transportation through a $600,000 grant.

There are 202 stops available in the initial launch of the program from northern Brunswick to southern Pender County. Reservations must be made at least an hour before the planned trip and up to one week ahead of time. Recurring trips can be scheduled into the system.

Rides will take place and reservations will be accepted weekdays between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

Call 844-764-1223 to book a ride.

View the service zones below. Note: Zone 1 and 2 are now active; zone 3 will open in December and zone 4 is planned to open by spring 2022.

Send tips and comments to info@portcitydaily.com

Subscribe to support local, independent journalism. Sign up for Port City Daily’s free newsletter, Wilmington Wire, to get the headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.

Related Articles