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You are here: Home Section Table Village Voices Trustees Examine Proposal to Implement Ride-Sharing for Scarsdale Commuters
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Trustees Examine Proposal to Implement Ride-Sharing for Scarsdale Commuters

rideshareAs the Village explores the best mix of parking, residential, retail and community amenities for the Freightway site, they must also do a bit imagining – that is imagining what life will be like in the 30-50 years in Scarsdale. Whatever is built on that site will have to continue to be an asset to the community for many years to come.

With thoughts of the future in mind, Scarsdale Village Trustees invited two vendors to a work session on October 22 to explore the possibility of ride sharing, rather than parking, for commuters using Metro North. Biddle Real Estate Ventures, who may or may not be one of the responders to the RFP for the entire Freightway project, partnered with ride-sharing company Via to propose the implementation of a ride-sharing program using a branded fleet of commuter vans.

They made their case contending that a parking garage was a 20th century solution to address the Village’s “first/last mile commuter transportation needs.” They said that car ownership is in decline and believe that a large parking garage will become obsolete. With a new garage to replace Freightway estimated to cost at least $25,000 per space for 730 spaces, the consultants believed that the new garage could cost at least $18,000,000. If the Village built a smaller garage and implemented ride-sharing, some of these funds could be used to build other community amenities.

They proposed ride-sharing in 8-seat commuter vans to reduce the number of individual cars in the Village at peak times, reduce auto emissions and make Scarsdale more green. Via already offers similar programs in 80 cities providing 60,000 rides annually.

The program would work as ride sharing programs do in New York City.

Here’s how:
-The customer would request a ride on their cell phone
-The Via algorithm would match the passenger with a vehicle
-The customer would be instructed to walk to a nearby meeting point
-The customer would be picked up and share a ride
-The customers would be dropped off at the station

But would it take more time to get to the train? According to the two, the trip would actually be shorter as it would shave off the time to get into the Freightway parking lot, park and then walk to the train, which they estimate takes about 8 minutes.

As Village Trustees and Managers contemplate taking down the existing garage during the construction process, ride-sharing could solve the problem of what to do about all the cars in the absence of the 720 spot garage.

The task of delivering hundreds of commuters to the station on time each day, might not be as easy as it sounds. How to test the viability of the proposal? According to the presenters, Via software engineers could simulate requests using Scarsdale’s road speeds and congestion and the company also suggested that they might be able to do a 3-month trial run with actual vans.

In order to ensure a regular stream of revenue, they suggested charging riders an annual fee rather than charges for individual rides. The cars would be owned by a fleet manager but bear Scarsdale Village branding. They suggested that during day time hours and at night these same vans could be used to take people into the Village, do school pick-ups or provide rides to restaurants.

Though there were still many questions to be answered, at the conclusion of the session the trustees asked the representatives to come up with a proposal for a 3-month trial run using actual cars and software to see if this was indeed workable in Scarsdale.

More to come….

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