An article in Fast Company, by Li Wen and Shawn Gayle, has unfortunately give more oxygen to the so-called NETWORK_LA proposal, which is founded on the delusion — especially common among designers and "futurists" — that Sufficiently Sexy Technology Will Change the Facts of Mathematics.
The idea is that somehow, flexible small-vehicle services responding to your personal requests will efficiently replace crowded fixed route transit services that routinely board upwards of one passenger per minute. Many Los Angeles bus lines are already incredibly successful, even if you personally don't identify as someone who would use them, and they are going to get even better very rapidly.
My reasonably humorous if exasperated rebuttal to NETWORK_LA, written when the idea first came out, is here. Quotable line: To … someone who values personal freedom, flexibility, spontaneity, human dignity, and travel time, Gensler's Los Angeles would be a hell-world worse than Blade Runner. Fortunately, it's also mathematically impossible."
For a more general discussion of the limits of flexible services (in the context of human-driven vehicles) is here. If you are of the school that thinks driverless cars (and buses) are just around the corner and bound to mow down all public resistance, then you've solved the operating cost problem with the NETWORK_LA idea. But you still haven't addressed the real problem, which is not the scarcity of money but the scarcity of urban space, as explained pretty simply here.
As I have said repeatedly, if driverless cars (or competition) can improve the cost-effectiveness of flexible services, they have great potential to be a better solution than fixed route buses for low-demand markets. But the grandiosity of the NETWORK_LA proposal is simply an expression of ignorance about how transit actually works, and what the real opportunities are.