Transit & TNCs
Transportation technology company TransLoc announced on Monday a partnership with Uber, marking a significant advancement in the ride-hailing company's effort to ally itself with public transit agencies.
TransLoc, which builds technology products for public transit passengers and agencies, will integrate Uber into the TransLoc Rider app, a smartphone application that provides real-time bus tracking and route planning.
San Francisco-based Uber's app allows passengers to order on-demand rides from their smartphones.
The integration will allow passengers to plan trips that combine public transportation with Uber rides and walking, TransLoc officials said. The idea is to offer Uber as a way for passengers to get from home to a transit stop, and from transit stops to their destinations.
Public transit agencies lose many potential riders because they lack options getting to or from the bus or train stop, TransLoc said.
"Such partnerships will enhance the attractiveness of public transportation," Michael Melaniphy, president and chief executive of the American Public Transportation Association, said in a statement.
The transition of thousands of MetroAccess trips to a less costly option such as Uber or Lyft could save Metro up to $6 million annually, the transit agency says.
Agency officials hope to start generating savings next spring, when some of Metro’s disabled and elderly customers could have the option to make their subsidized travels in a ride-share car.
Metro is moving forward with plans to partner with providers such as Uber and Lyft to establish an alternative to MetroAccess, its door-to-door service for the elderly and people with disabilities. Metro’s plan is to launch the program, Abilities-Ride, on March 1, according to agency documents to be discussed at a Thursday board meeting.
Under the program, MetroAccess customers will have the choice of booking– through the use of technology– a ride on the same day they need it, a significant improvement from the current MetroAccess requirement that trips be booked 24 hours in advance.
Metro estimates that between 150,000 and 250,000 trips will be taken during the first year of operations. This will result in savings between $4 million and $6 million in the first year of operations, according to documents prepared for the board meeting.
Metro will pay up to $15 per trip to the contracting company, reducing its expenses significantly when compared to the MetroAccess cost of $44 per trip.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday afternoon that the state will launch a paratransit partnership pilot program with Uber and Lyft.
The yearlong program will help handicapped riders get to locations when they are not able to provide 24 hours notice, as is required for those using The RIDE, the MBTA’s current paratransit program. Registered users can request a ride through Uber, Lyft, or multiple Boston-area taxi providers on demand. Lyft is also offering a concierge service for those who feel more comfortable requesting a ride over the phone. Wheelchair -accessible vehicles will also be available on request.
Riders will be responsible for paying the first $2 of each ride, with the next $13 being paid for by the MBTA. After the first $15 for each ride, riders will be responsible for any further charges. There will also be a $3.15 set fare for customers with a minimum of one day’s advance notice.
MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack and MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve joined Baker at the Perkins School for the Blind to announce the program.
“The reliability of our transportation system depends on the MBTA’s ability to improve its core infrastructure and provide efficient, innovative transit options that meet the needs of the system’s one million daily riders,” Governor Baker said in a statement. “This initiative represents the MBTA’s efforts to increase accessibility in a more cost-effective and efficient way that also delivers more convenient service for its paratransit customers.”
“This is an exciting next step in enhancing and expanding THE RIDE’s service by reducing passenger wait times and increasing access to jobs, education, errands, and social activities,” Lyft Boston General Manager Tyler George said. “Regardless of mobility needs, all customers of THE RIDE will be able enjoy access to Lyft rides, which we believe will result in an improved quality of life. We will fully equip our driver platform with wheelchair accessible vehicles, making it easier than ever to request a vehicle with a ramp.”
Registration for the program starts Friday. RIDE-eligible users approved will receive app access to request on-demand services.