How do you provide the frequency and reliability of service that’s needed to make ‘shared’ transport (taking a bus, train, ride-share, etc.) a viable option for people in both peak and non-peak times, when demand ranges from zero to full capacity? It’s a difficult and delicate balance.
One strategy is to “right-size” vehicles and have multiple modes that complement each other. For instance, local circulators, “Shoppers” or services geared towards seniors are, in my experience, better fit for a van than a full-size bus. Rarely is capacity an issue. Instead, the ability to provide door to door service; maneuverability; and to load both passengers and packages easily are important performance criteria.
Early morning and late night ‘first and last mile’ service might most efficiently (and safely) be provided by ride-share (such as Lyft and Uber) while shuttle buses and even full-size transit vehicles might most efficiently provide the same services in peak hours.
Regardless of mode, all services need to be interconnected, reliable, seamless to use, and affordable if we truly want to get people out of their private cars.