This article was originally published by Sarah Wray on Cities today, the leading news platform for urban mobility and innovation that reaches an international audience of city guides. For the latest updates, see Cities Today Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Youtubeor sign up for Cities Today News.
Uber software will support on-demand public transport services through a new contract in California with the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) and the Marin Transit bus agency.
Although Uber is already showing data about public transport in its app and has made ticket purchases possible at some locations, this step is the first SaaS connection (Software-as-a-Service) with a public transport company.
Shin-pei Tsay, director of politics, cities and transport at Uber, said Cities today: “We are always looking for ways to add public technology and cities to our technology. We look forward to following this latest example with more partners, especially those looking for ways to improve accessibility for underserved and those with additional needs. With the ubiquity of the Uber app, there is a broader opportunity to share our customer experience to meet the challenges that transit agencies will continue to face. “
She said Uber is working on “a variety of different solutions”
With the new Connect2Transit program, drivers can use the Uber app to book shared, accessible mini-bus rides with Marin Transit. The service will be available in and around the Marin 101 Highway 101 corridor, connecting drivers with local and regional bus, rail and ferry services, and expanding the existing coverage area.
Nancy Whelan, General Manager of Marin Transit, called the program “a unique public-private partnership”.
“We are particularly pleased to expand on-demand access for older adults and people with disabilities in Marin County who need wheelchair-accessible vehicles or drivers who provide additional assistance to drivers,” she said.
The shuttle vans will be configured for two wheelchair users and five outpatients, and four vehicles will be in operation.
Rides cost $ 4 per mile or $ 3 for people with disabilities or other mobility issues. The fee goes directly to Marin Transit. Uber does not charge a commission, but charges the agency a monthly flat fee of up to $ 80,000 over two years. TAM also pays Uber up to $ 70,000 per trip each year to receive discount coupons for Marin Transit Connect and UberPool trips to and from transit stations.
The Uber app not only allows drivers to plan a Connect minibus trip, but also shows real-time transit departure information, as well as all qualified TAM discounts for trips with Connect or UberPool (and UberX, during Uber’s shared trips due to COVID -19 are not available). . TAM plans to work with local employers to provide additional mobility options for commuter programs for employees.
Marin Transit has been testing an app-based on-demand microtransit service since May 2018. At the same time, TAM supported with Lyft a coupon program for the first and last mile to / from Marin SMART stations.
Cody Lowe, planning analyst at Marin Transit, said Cities today: “Marin Transit and TAM have decided to launch a competitive competitive public procurement for a technology platform to support these programs as the current contracts expire in late June. Uber received the order because of its ability to integrate the Marin Transit and TAM programs into one app.
“TAM and Marin Transit are happy to test and learn from him in collaboration with Uber Connect2Transit.”
The service begins on July 1st.
Although the new deal for Uber is relatively small financially, it could mean a potential new source of income for the company, which has cut more than a quarter of its workforce since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, with the pandemic culminating – business tough share.
Uber’s relationship with cities was not always smooth and did collided with several around the world on topics like Safety, Licensing and Data However, in the recent initiative, the company emphasizes a collaborative approach.
“Transit agencies are the backbone of cities,” said Tsay. “Whether first or last mile programs, on-demand or SaaS programs – together we see a bright future in which we can do more for drivers in communities around the world.”