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Ride sharing and public transport in the US

By Ralf Tinga / Updated: 13 Aug 2018

CityLab reports on the increasing number of partnerships between public transport providers and ride-hailing companies, such as Lyft and Uber, in the United States.

Twenty seven US cities, of different sizes, have contracted ride-hailing services to substitute or supplement existing public transport services. The first one to do so was the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), a public transport provider in Florida. In 2016, when ridership on its bus lines fell by 11%, PSTA started giving discounts on Uber and taxi trips to and from 24 popular bus stops.

However, there are mixed views, and ongoing dicussions, on whether these partnerships lead to ride-hailing services competing with or complementing public transport. Critics point out that the partnerships have hardly boosted ridership on public transport. They also warn of legal uncertainty about the sharing of ridership data and the freedom of ride-hailing companies to raise fares.

Opinions remain mixed about whether the partnerships help the image of public transport. Some argue that their collaboration with Lyft and Uber makes public transport’s branding ‘a little cooler and more relevant’. Others warn that it feeds the perception that they can actually replace public transport, which poses a risk for funding.

The two reports can be found here:

PDF iconChaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development - Partners in Transit: A review of Partnerships Between Transportation Network Companies and Public Agencies (1 August 2018)

PDF iconSchaller Consulting – The New Automobility: Lyft, Uber and the Future of American Cities (25 July 2018)

Picture: LeStudio / Shutterstock.com - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock

Policy and research
Mobility management
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