[Maggie McGuire/Moab Sun News]

Hate Main Street traffic? Car on the fritz? Just sick of trying to get a parking spot at the Post Office? 

Moab residents can soon take advantage of a pilot system offering both free on-call door-to-door lifts and a pick-up bus route along Main Street. The Moab Area Transit system launched on March 16.

“We’re putting final touches on all our systems right now,” said the City of Moab Transit Coordinator Richard Lory, as the MAT’s 13-passenger vans were getting their final custom look and bus stops were being installed. “It’s really exciting to see how this will impact Moab residents who may not have solid transportation or who just want a quick way around town.”

People will be able to schedule a ride with the ‘micro-transit’ system, run by a company called Downtowner, by simply calling 1-833-MAT-FREE or using an app. The service is planned to operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through October when evening hours will end at 5 p.m. Downtowner manages many similar micro-transit systems in other towns like Park City and Denver.

“These on-call systems are an extremely effective way to get around,” Lory said. “They have it down.” 

MAT also includes a fixed-route service that will bring riders to predetermined destinations along Main Street. This route will provide regular stops between the Fairfield Inn north of town to the Utah State University Moab campus at Aggie Boulevard. The fixed-route service operates daily from March 16 to Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and there will be no fixed-route service from Oct. 16 to March 15.

The goal of the fixed-route service is to reduce downtown traffic congestion by providing a transportation option that encourages visitors to leave their vehicles at their hotels and instead travel downtown for shopping and dining via the MAT 13-passenger vans. 

The Moab Area Transit pilot program’s funding is provided through a Utah Recreation Hotspot grant administered by the Utah Department of Transportation, with additional funding from the City of Moab and Grand County. 

“The most stressful thing has been dealing with continual supply chain issues and delays,” Lory said. “We’ve been careful to wait until everything was sure to roll the program out to the public, since we didn’t want to overpromise and not deliver.”

The MAT pilot program will provide residents and visitors with an affordable and accessible transportation option. Whether the system continues into the future depends on usage and feedback from residents. 

“The system is really focused on serving residents,” Lory said. “That’s how the service will be successful and how we will know that we’ve made a really useful thing.”

Be sure to download the MAT app or call 1-833-MAT-FREE to schedule a ride and experience the convenience of the new Moab Area Transit service.