On December 16th the City launched the Salem Skipper, which is an on-demand rideshare transportation service. The service is intended to be a fast, easy, and affordable way to travel throughout the community. The city has partnered with Via, an on-demand transit provider, to provide the service which will allow residents and visitors to book a trip anywhere within Salem for $2.00 per ride or less.
How it Works
Download the app to your smartphone to create an account and book trips. If you do not have a smartphone, you can call toll free at 844-983-1842 and a customer service representative will assist you. Once you enter a desired pickup and drop-off address you will receive information pertaining to the estimated pickup time and location where you are to meet the vehicle. Via’s technology acts as a virtual dispatcher which seeks to optimize travel times while enabling multiple riders to share trips. As such, you will be notified as to where to meet your driver for pick-ups which will be within a short walking distance from the location where you book the trip. If you utilize a wheelchair or have other accessibility issues, you can indicate that when you create your account in the profile settings and a wheelchair accessible vehicle will be deployed to your direct location when you book a trip.
Service Hours and Fees
The service will be available 7:00 am – 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday and 10:00 am – 6:00 pm on Saturday. There will be four vehicles in service, two Chrysler Pacificas and two Dodge Caravans. The Dodge Caravans are wheelchair accessible. The service can provide trips anywhere with the city limits and is not intended to wait for riders while running errands. Pick-up wait times are intended to be no more than 15-20 minutes once trips are booked.
Each ride will cost $2 each ($1 for senior citizens, middle school and high school students, and people with disabilities). All new riders will get their first 10 trips free until February 16. Trips can also be booked with up to 2 additional passengers. Each additional passenger will cost a $1 extra.
COVID-19 Safety Measures
City is working with Via to ensure riders ad drivers stay safe and are following state and local guidelines. Here are some of the measures that have been put in place:
- Everyone on board is required to wear a face mask or face covering. Passengers not wearing a face mask may be refused service.
- In-app wellness checks have been created to help make sure passengers and drivers are symptom-free before riding.
- Vehicle capacity is limited in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Additionally, in vehicles with automatic doors, please wait for the driver to open and close the door to avoid touching the handles.
- Vehicles are being professionally cleaned regularly and we’ve provided drivers with cleaning supplies in order to perform frequent and thorough wipe downs of the vehicle interior with extra focus on common surfaces and high-contact areas.
- All Salem Skipper vehicles are equipped with plastic partitions between drivers and riders.
Salem Skipper is being supported by a $175,000 Workforce Transit Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), $75,000 from the City’s Transportation Enhancement Fund, and $150,000 from Footprint Power as part of their community agreement.
For additional info please visit salemskipper.com
David Kucharsky is the Director of Traffic & Parking for the City of Salem and chair of the Salem For All Ages Transportation sub-committee
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