Ride sharing or public transportation are the choices to be debated by a subcommittee tasked with identifying the best way for Kyle residents to get around town.
City leaders continue to learn what mode of transportation works best for their constituents as the population continues to swell.
Council members Alex Villalobos and Daphne Tenorio said they have their focus set on serving the economically disadvantaged community with this project. Using a regular bus route or a rideshare program like Uber and Lyft is still up for debate.
On Jan. 31, Villalobos had a meeting with council member Rick Koch and city staff on how to address transportation issues in the city. At least two more subcommittee meetings are planned in the future.
“We were able to narrow down our goals, which is to see a system, and have it funded mostly using federal grants,” Koch said. “But I’m interested to see the second meeting happen, because that is when I will know more.”
City staff was directed to research ridesharing deals that companies such as Uber and Lyft might offer with municipalities. The city is interested in exploring options that would allow reimbursement of these rides for citizens who would qualify.
Alternatives could extend to winning a federal grant that would provide funding for a city bus. Tenorio said she would like to see a regular bus route that makes stops at the Kyle HEB and Seton Medical Center Hays.
“We’ll have to find funding within the city or even match grant funds,” Tenorio said. “I attended a grant writing workshop specifically to learn how we can do this.”
Tenorio said her constituents would be highly interested in seeing a bus system, while other council members say they believe their constituents would benefit better from using a system that would pick them up by request.
Kyle had attempted the latter through the Capital Area Rural Transportation Service (CARTS), which picked up residents by request and transported them around the area.
However, cost issues, along with Kyle losing designation as a rural city, led city leaders to cut funding for CARTS.
A deal with a ridesharing app that already exists could prove to be cheaper and more easily accessible, officials said.
The issue with ridesharing apps, however, is the use of technology that is required to access Uber and Lyft.
Villalobos said he hopes whichever program is chosen is easily usable for Kyle’s elderly and disabled population.
Progress on the transportation project is slow and the date for the second meeting has yet to be decided.
Kyle city staff, however, is looking into more options and doing more research into the project.