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Newton limits NewMo rideshare trips to two passengers due to COVID-19 surge

Janice Bennett, a NewMo driver, dropped off a passenger outside the Newton Senior Center.Anju Miura for The Boston Globe

Newton is now limiting NewMo rideshare service trips to two passengers instead of three due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, according to Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.

The city is also adding a seventh vehicle to its fleet to maintain service quality, the mayor said in a statement.

NewMo, which is short for “Newton in Motion,” began in 2019 as a transportation option for seniors. The local rideshare service has expanded to include anyone who lives, works, or commutes in Newton, and allows them to go anywhere in the city.

The service has provided more than 7,000 rides since October, Fuller said, with an average wait time of about 16 minutes.


While NewMo is now limited to two passengers per vehicle, Fuller said the change shouldn’t impact the service. That’s because of the extra vehicle, as well as the limited number of three-passenger trips, which make up about 5 percent of rides.

Passengers can book rides on NewMo by downloading the app to their smartphone (search for “NewMo Newton” in your app store). People without smartphones can sign up for the service and book trips by calling 617-655-8019.

Rides are $2 each, Fuller said, and run from Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Masks are required while riding NewMo.

Teens between the ages of 13 to 17 can ride NewMo with parental consent, while children under 13 need to be accompanied by an adult, Fuller said.

Residents over 60 are encouraged to sign up for the city’s senior service by contacting Newton’s Senior Center at 617-796-1665 or Elizabeth Lund at Elund@newtonma.gov.

For information about fare discounts, contact Director of Transportation Planning Nicole Freedman at NFreedman@newtonma.gov or 617-879-8148.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.