Ann Arbor Area Community News
It used to be that transportation fit neatly into two basic categories: public transportation and private transportation. Think of buses vs. bikes or trains vs. cars.
We’ll here in Ann Arbor, and elsewhere in the world, a new trend is emerging.
Meet the new era of private-public transportation (PPT).
For a taste of PPT, check out getmedowntown. getmedowntown offers a bus ride to folks who want to party in downtown Detroit, but don’t want the hassle of driving and parking in the D. $16 will get you to from downtown Ann Arbor to downtown Detroit and back.
Or let’s say you’re hanging out in downtown Ann Arbor around 1:00am and want a ride to your friend’s house across town. You can now give the BTB Party Bus a call and for about $2 the bus (run on used veggie oil) will pick you up from anywhere downtown and drop you off wherever you want to go in Ann Arbor.
It’s a bus, it’s a car, it’s PPT!
You can also see PPT in the form of Zipcar, which now has 10 vehicles on the UM Campus (and hopefully 4 in downtown Ann Arbor very soon). Zipcars give you the freedom of a using car whenever you want one (their tagline is “Wheels when you want them”) without the burden of owning your own.
Zipcars are growing in popularity all over the nation, as is the idea of “bike sharing” which allows you to use a bike when it suits your needs. Bike sharing programs can be found in places such as Chapel Hill, NC , Washington D.C. and Paris, France.
Along the lines of bike sharing programs, Segway is teaming up with UM Engineering undergrads to pilot another form of PPT: a shared Segway service. Imagine checking out a Segway from a kiosk at Main and Ashley and zipping across town to South U and beyond.
If all of this sounds a little strange to you, just talk to a college student. The public private world they inhabit (think Facebook, Myspace, blogs, etc) embraces these new forms of private-public transportation.
What does this new concept of PPT mean for the AATA and the development of parking structures like the new underground Library Lot? We’ll just have to wait and see.
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