Grand Rapids provides free rides around the city for residents in the community

[anvplayer video=”5139753″ station=”998130″]

Technological advances continue to expand rapidly, from electronics to cars, and much more. With vehicles, self-driving options are becoming more common even here in Northland.

GoMarti is the new name on the street to look out for, as a fleet of five vans was launched through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, The City of Grand Rapids, May mobility, and other partners.

The vans will be providing free rides to 70 locations throughout the city. If you would like to book a ride, residents can call 211 or download the May Mobility App.

Grand Rapids mayor Dale Christy shares what it means to have this pilot program operational for this community. “It is really exciting for us. We try to do it. We have tried to do as much as we can to promote accessibility for those who are unable to be transported normally. And so this is one more way that the city has been able to help with that.”

This is an 18-month pilot program to see how the plan operates in the city. “We have autonomous safety operators on boards at all times for all the vehicles that are ready to take over an instance and also assist any passengers as needed,” says Thomas Johnson-Kaiser, Connected and Automated Vehicles office for Minnesota’s Department of Transportation and the Project Manager for the go Marti Project.

These vehicles will help people get around and allow people with accessibility to have a sense and pride of independence. Anyone can ride in the vans, but children under the age of 12 have to be accommodated by an adult.

“This service will provide those opportunities to get to their friends, grandkids, sporting events, get them to concerts, and get them to church on Sunday mornings, because Arrowhead does a wonderful job during the day, Monday through Friday. On evenings and weekends, the hours of service are very limited. And so we started thinking, how can we get that opportunity for all people, no matter what their age, no matter what their ability,” Grand Rapid resident Myrna Peterson.

Along with Grand Rapids, these mobility vans are located in Rochester and White Black Lake.