Like popular ride-hailing apps, SouthWest Transit is now making it as easy to request a ride within Eden Prairie as the tap of a phone app.

The agency is launching a new on-demand service called SW Prime in mid-June that modernizes the "Dial-a-Ride" service by letting riders call or book a ride through a smartphone app, like taxis or Uber car rides have popularized.

"I think it's going to be very popular," CEO Len Simich said. "It will be almost instant booking of that ride."

Prompted by changing demographics and an aging community, the new service will bring riders just within Eden Prairie — the first time SouthWest Transit has expanded its local service in almost 10 years since local service was trimmed back to shift focus on express buses to Minneapolis and main employment centers.

Now, it will be easier for riders to get somewhere within the community or to a bus or express stop, without using a car. The fare starts at $3 for adults, $2 for children and free for children under the age of 5.

"I think it's going to be very successful," Simich said, adding that the service won't compete with taxis because there aren't many in the community and "there's plenty of room for all of us."

By fall, Simich said the service should be expanded to Chaska and Chanhassen. Besides six new vehicles, two motorized trolleys will also start operating on Hwy. 212 this fall, acting as a bus rapid transit (BRT) between Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska.

For more information or to fill out a survey about the new service, go to

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141