Pictured, from left: Steve Lancaster, Lloyd Williams, John Brock, Holly Montooth, and Mark Farley.

Congratulations UCHRA Public Transportation on winning the Gordon Acuff Award at the annual TAHRA (Tennessee Association of Human Resource Agencies) conference!

PickUp Cookeville was recognized as an innovative service for providing on-demand public transportation. Stay tuned as there are plans to expand the service to other UC communities in the future!

PickUp Cookeville is a micro-transit, on-demand transportation service that operates within the City of Cookeville and the surrounding cities of Algood, Baxter, and Monterey. The service went operational in July 2021. 

PickUp Cookeville, powered by Uber, differentiates itself from UCHRA Public Transportation’s typical demand-response service in a few important ways. The most compelling value-add that it provides is that it is truly on-demand. Riders are not required to pre-book their trip but simply download the Uber app and access a ride from PickUp Cookeville that is more cost-friendly and just as reliable as a typical rideshare provider. PickUp Cookeville drivers go through the same rigorous training and background checks as UCHRA’s other public transportation services, providing additional peace of mind for riders. 

A second important differentiator is that it operates after-hours and on weekends. Additionally, PickUp Cookeville boasts a low fare of $6; representing significant cost savings compared to a typical rideshare trip. Low-cost, on-demand transportation options available after hours and on weekends were previously identified as a high-priority unmet need in the Upper Cumberland’s most recent Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan. PickUp Cookeville was intended to fill this need and has exceeded expectations in less than a year since launching. 

In FY22, PickUp Cookeville provided 4,251 trips. The service experienced modest beginnings in Q1, but saw a 220% increase in trips in Q4 (2,064 trips) compared to Q2 (644 trips). Moving forward, PickUp Cookeville is expected to continue to grow and expand. The results seen thus far are encouraging and continue to exceed expectations. UCHRA Public Transportation plans to implement a similar project in Crossville, Tenn.

The PickUp Cookeville project was funded by the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s IMPROVE Act grant in SFY21. UCHRA Public Transportation allocates funding for the day-to-day operations of PickUp Cookeville from FTA 5311 Formula Funding.  

PickUp Cookeville also represents an improvement to service delivery in the immense value it provides to community members who might not typically use public transportation. By bringing these individuals under the UCHRA umbrella, PickUp Cookeville is also onboarding public transportation riders of the future; getting them more comfortable with UCHRA and UCHRA Public Transportation.