The RailCAT system is incredibly user-friendly, starting even before climbing aboard. There’s no need to consult a schedule, because you can start your ride any time when the system is running – and there’s seldom any waiting because busy locations can have multiple boarding zones with vehicles waiting for passengers. Within a few minutes, you’ll be on your way, purring like a kitten and enjoying the scenery from a quiet, safe, private CAT vehicle. There are no traffic jams because sophisticated software is managing the system as a network, coordinating all of the vehicle movements. You will reach your destination before you know it! (See how it works.)
Additional features and benefits:
- If you notice any problem when boarding a vehicle, you can press the “Needs cleaning or maintenance” button inside the vehicle to send it on its way and receive a replacement.
- You can request additional stops along the way, to pick up a friend or to travel as a group with some passengers boarding or disembarking at different locations.
- Instead of a per-passenger fare, we expect the system will charge a pay-per-vehicle fare. It’s easier to manage, and it will encourage CAT pooling.
CAT stops are the boarding zones which will be located throughout the Rail Trail (bike and pedestrian path) and possibly other locations. We expect every CAT stop to include a weather protection canopy with solar panels and lighting.
Priority CAT stops are the stops that provide the best accessibility to streets and major destinations. We expect these stops to include special features such as ride hailing buttons, a customer service communication system, a 911 emergency button, and a payment system for riders who cannot use the app. Priority stops are available to anyone, but their primary purpose is to provide easy access for elderly and/or disabled riders.
We expect that most CAT stops will be located on the Rail Trail, although additional stops could be built on the opposite side of the tracks where additional right-of-way is available. This system does not require any transit stations or benches.
Disabled and Senior Passengers
We recommend that students, senior, disabled, and low-income passengers can use the system at no charge, without requiring an app. Riders can use the standard ADA button located at any Priority CAT stop (and also the Standard Ride button if the rider doesn’t need much space). The system will send a CAT immediately, and furthermore it will detect if the rider has any trouble with boarding or selecting a destination, so that help can be provided if necessary.
The system will be readily available to integrate with ParaCruz door-to-door service, especially for longer-distance or traffic-impacted rides. One ParaCruz driver can pick up the passenger and assist them to board the RailCAT, and then at the other end, another driver can help complete the journey.
To prevent system abuse, passengers who use the ADA button to obtain free transportation may occasionally be asked to provide proof of eligibility.
Premium Ride (bikes & strollers welcome)
The Premium Ride is a full vehicle with two seats that face one another. This vehicle is designed to easily accommodate any two people, and to accommodate larger groups in cases where riders are willing to share a seat or sit on the floor. Bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers, and most families can fit easily, but obviously not all at the same time, so in some cases a group will need to split up among multiple CATs.
The premium ride provides nonstop express service from start to destination, unless additional stops are requested to pick up or drop off passengers.
Standard Ride (half vehicle)
The Standard Ride is a half-vehicle which is partitioned from the other half of the vehicle so that each side can enjoy a private ride, as shown here. This ride is “almost non-stop” but may include a few stops along the way, or a brief additional waiting period, to allow passengers to board or disembark from the other half of the vehicle.
User Interface and Optional App
Each priority station and each CAT vehicle will include a user interface that is yet to be determined, allowing passengers to select a destination and select additional stops if necessary.
Alternatively, these features can be accessed through a cellphone app. The app should not be required for basic use of the system, but may provide useful features such as fare sharing (split the fare among multiple passangers) and finding the exact location of friends who are using the system (and who have chosen to allow their location to be disclosed).
In some cases where a requested CAT stop is busy, the system may substitute a nearby stop (for able-bodied passengers only).