SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Starting Monday the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is launching an on-demand transit service called Flex, where riders can request shuttle buses using a smart phone app or on an Internet-connected computer.

VTA’s Flex service is designed to shuttle passengers between regular transit stops and high-density employment and retail centers.

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The buses are automatically routed to pick up and drop off riders with similar routes. “You can have various routings,” said VTA spokeswoman Bernice Alaniz. “You can have varied pickup times. You can look at what are the requests and then be responsive.”

Flex service map

Santa Clara VTA Flex Service map. (SCVTA)

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Passengers can only be picked up and dropped off at designated Flex stops, but Alaniz did not shy away from comparisons to Uber or Lyft. “I think there are some of the aspects of that, that it’s responsive – someone makes a request and we respond with something very tailored to individual needs.”

Passengers can also pay for their rides through their smartphone. For now, the pilot program is only available in North San Jose within about three miles of the Tasman light rail station.

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