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Uber is primarily thought of as a ridesharing service, but today the company is adding new transportation options to its app -- even though they don't involve the users actually taking an Uber ride. Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTA) has been added to the Uber app, which means that people searching for a ride will also see what public transportation options are nearby that can get them where they're going.

In a lot of ways, it looks similar to the public transit info you can already find in Google Maps and Apple's Maps app -- after putting in a starting point and destination, the Uber app shows what transit lines are nearby, when the next bus or train arrives, and how far you'll have to walk at the beginning or end of the trip.

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Over the past year, there’s been a slew of partnerships between public transportation authorities and companies like Uber and Lyft. These are often touted as a win-win for both parties, since on the surface, they seem to make a lot of sense. Uber and Lyft get more riders and public transportation authorities save money and connect more riders to transit hubs solving the vaunted first-last mile problem.

Over the past few months, I’ve spent time tracking all of these partnerships, talking to some of the stakeholders and really trying to understand what these partnerships mean for all parties involved. So today, I’m going to lay out everything I’ve found.

Before we start though, the term partnerships can mean a lot of different things, so I’ve broken it down into three tiers.

  • Tier 1 partnerships involve actually monetary investments or subsidizing of rides with offers that aren’t available to the general public.
  • Tier 2 partnerships are a concerted effort that yields some type of integration (API or otherwise) and/or a custom discount code (but the discount is the same as the public facing offer).
  • Tier 3 partnerships are proposals that haven’t been finalized or potential partnerships that are in the works or still being discussed.

The public transit industry finds itself, again, facing new opportunities for community mobility and connecting riders to the people they want to see, and the places they want to go. This resource page is, right now, a collection of articles and developments in the world of public transit and transportation network companies. Stop back for more information, and to learn about NYPTA's statewide activity on creating the best possible transit options for the people of New York.

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