MARTA and a group of Buckhead leaders have lost their bid to bring a self-driving shuttle experiment to the Lenox Square mall. Instead, the “Olli” shuttle is test-driving a street in the city of Peachtree Corners.

An Arizona-based startup company called Local Motors sought bids from metro Atlanta organizations to test the Olli for three months. In July, the Lenox Square bid was arranged by the Buckhead Coalition, MARTA and the mall, though they fell short of a minimum $88,000 financial pledge.

An Olli self-driving shuttle bus. (Local Motors)

The Buckhead Community Improvement District had declined to participate in the bid, questioning the point of paying a startup to demonstrate unproven technology and its effect on the existing “buc” shuttle service.

Peachtree Corners won the bid, according to a Local Motors spokesperson. On Oct. 1, the city began public rides on the Olli on Technology Parkway, a street that is designed with infrastructure to test various new types of motor vehicles.

Meanwhile, the BCID and Livable Buckhead recently announced they are replacing the “buc” shuttle bus with an Uber-style, on-demand, app-based shuttle van service. Run by a company called Via, the new shuttle uses human drivers. The service is scheduled to start in January.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.