Uber Plans To Take To Public Transit With A Proposed Ridesharing App
It looks like Uber is making a jumping from private ridesharing to the public sector: the car service app is planning on releasing an app that more or less seems like the Google Maps of public transit.
Uber announced on Jan. 11 that it entered into an official partnership with TransLoc, a transportation technology provider, with the aim of producing an app that computes and let users know the best mode of transportation for their commute, factoring in everything from trains and buses to Uber rides.
"By integrating the Uber API into the TransLoc Rider app, riders can incorporate multiple modes of transportation, including public transit, into commutes," TransLoc reps stated in a press release posted on Monday.
The company argues that commuters usually go for a starkly binary option when it comes to getting from point A to point B, going for either riding public transit or driving their car if they have both options at their disposal. What most commuters don't do is hybridize their choices, the result of which can sometimes lead to more efficient travel times. The Uber/TransLoc app would promote this method, incorporating "the optimal combination of walking, transit and Uber" while remaining functionally cost-effective.
"It's exciting to see technology companies and public transit agencies work together to test new ways for making trip options convenient and complete," said Michael Melaniphy, the CEO and president of American Public Transportation Association, about the app. "As private sector innovation accelerates, such partnerships will enhance the attractiveness of public transportation, with the traveling public being the prime beneficiary."
The app will also aim to serve users who are denied basic station access, and might even help persons with motor-related disabilities get around more efficiently. Uber integration with the TransLoc Rider app will debut in mid-February in Memphis, Tenn., and Raleigh/Durham, N.C. TransLoc Rider is the official app for more than 135 municipal, university and corporate agencies.
Uber isn't the only ridesharing service looking to move toward public systems, as Reuters noted. Lyft launched the program "Friends With Transit," which tallies the amount of people who use Lyft to take them to and back from public train stations. Emily Castor, the director of transportation policy at Lyft, told Reuters the service had "a pipeline of dozens of public transit agencies" currently in the works to partner with the company.