Dublin Partners with Microtransit Startup SHARE for a More Mobile Workforce
The city of Dublin has traditionally been a place where central Ohio area employees needed a car to get to and from work. There is only limited access to COTA bus lines, and those that do ride have to change buses multiple times, walk, and/or take a Lyft or Uber from their bus stop to their place of work.
In comes the Dublin Circulator, provided by transportation startup SHARE. The Columbus-based microtransit service launched Dublin’s workforce shuttle in early 2019, with additional services for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and most recently a lunch circulator that takes employees to a number of Dublin shopping centers and plazas, including Bridge Park, Avery Square and Historic Dublin.
By scheduling rides 24 hours in advance on the SHARE app, Dublin employees can catch a ride from bus stops in Dublin — including on no. 1, 22 and 33 bus lines — to nearly two dozen employers, with more expected to be added.
The workforce shuttle is a pilot program and currently free to Dublin employers and employees.
The program is the result of two years of study and three years of preparation by the City of Dublin.
“Before we just launched a program, we really tried to understand what the community wanted, what the business community wanted,” says Joanne Shelly, an urban designer and landscape architect in the City of Dublin’s long-range planning division. “We worked in tandem with our economic development group very closely before anything was launched.”
Some of the things Dublin employers reported seeing were employees having to wait before and after work hours for rides, not showing up because they were at the mercy of a loved one’s schedule, or if a partner or family member lost or changed jobs, employees would quit because they could no longer find transportation to their place of work.
Limited transportation options cause a lack of reliability and dependability for employers, on top of limiting their potential talent pool and creating logistical issues, like accommodating hundreds of single-rider vehicles at once.
Shelly says it’s important to recognize transportation as not only an employee benefit, like healthcare or parental leave, but an employer benefit as well.
“The SHARE workforce shuttle is a way to increase our recruitment, recruit individuals who may not own [a] personal vehicle, [and] reach further into a hiring pool that is beyond the city of Dublin,” she says.
In addition to the workforce and lunch programs are two other circulators. The Dublin Senior Circulator serves Dublin residents and visitors 55 and over, while a Disabled Circulator serves members of UFIT, a fitness center for individuals with special needs, and PATHS (Postsecondary Access to Transition After High School).
“The people that have a physical or mental barrier to driving, this provides them with the opportunity to have a quality of life, get out and have a job, and be self-sufficient,” says Shelly. “It’s about people having dignity and the ability to participate in their life and in society in a way that allows them to support themselves.”
Discussion about what the future of this program looks like is ongoing. The City of Dublin is in talks of creating bulk pass program of sorts, maybe even similar to what COTA has implemented in Downtown Columbus for C-Pass.
The City is also looking at opportunities with employers who are willing to sponsor events like the Dublin Lunch Circulator, partnerships with the businesses being frequented, and how it can structure a program that shares the cost appropriately between employers, employees and the City.
The City sees the program as an economic development tool, and a way to level the playing field for those that can’t afford or have the ability to drive.
“It’s this idea of taking people who have limited transportation options and giving them access to transportation so that they can, again, [have a] quality of life and dignity of life and being able to go where you want to go, without having to own and operate a personal vehicle,” says Shelly.
For more information on SHARE and the City of Dublin’s circulator programs, visit ridewithshare.com/dublin.
Our technology series is presented by our partners in the City of Dublin.
Dublin is a city of more than 47,000 residents located just northwest of Columbus, Ohio. The City of Dublin Economic Development team has a vision to make Dublin a Midwest IT Magnet through business leadership and sustainable workforce development. This commitment goes beyond short-term skills training to include long-term strategic and cultural support for the entire Dublin business community. Dublin is one of America’s Top 20 Creative Class Cities and is home to more than 20 corporate headquarters, an entrepreneurial center, 3,000+ businesses, world-class events and the urban, walkable Bridge Street District.