Uber & Lyft As An Extension Of... Or Replacement For... Public Transit

from the well-that's-interesting dept

Lyft just announced an interesting partnership with MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority to basically help get more people to and from MARTA stations. It's an interesting approach to try to help make public transit more convenient:
Partnering with transit agencies like MARTA is a core part of our vision to build a sustainable transportation network. By helping fill the first and last miles between a passenger’s home and a MARTA station, we’re making it easier than ever to ride transit. We believe that when transit is within reach of everyone, our cities are more liveable, connected, and prosperous.
Of course, it's not entirely clear what's really involved in the "partnership" beyond marketing. Yes, Lyft is offering discount vouchers, but only for 10 rides. And you could already use Lyft or Uber to do this without the partnership.

Where this potentially gets more interesting is the decision of Dublin, California, to look to Lyft and Uber as a substitute for public transportation by subsidizing rides via those companies instead of taking a bus.
In a first for California, a public transit agency next month plans to begin subsidizing fares of people who take private Uber and Lyft cars to local destinations rather than riding the bus.

Passengers ordering Uber or Lyft car trips within two test areas of Dublin will be eligible to get door-to-destination service at a big discount under a partnership between the ride-hailing companies and the Wheels public bus system in Dublin, Alameda and Pleasanton.
The local transit authority is even suggesting that this might change the way they set up routes and serve certain communities. In fact, they've already killed off one (little used) bus route, suggesting that this new partnership can help replace that route more efficiently.

I can see why this might annoy some people -- and certainly those who don't trust big private companies like Uber and Lyft are going to complain. Similarly the bus driver's union rep is apparently pissed off. But this is still a really interesting experiment. If it allows municipalities to truly offer better, more efficient transportation and it's cheaper overall, then is it really a problem that some companies might also make some profits from it? It will be interesting to see how this experiment in Dublin works out and if other cities follow suit. And it seems like a much better idea than what's happening in Massachusetts, where the government has instituted a special tax on Lyft and Uber... and giving that money to the taxi companies who didn't innovate.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: atlanta, california, car hailing, dublin, marta, massachusetts, public transit, ride sharing
Companies: lyft, uber


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. identicon
    John Mayor, 26 Aug 2016 @ 6:47am

    NGO+NPO VS FOR PROFIT VS BUREAUCRATIC TRANSPORTATION

    The story at Google result, World's first self-driving taxis debut in Singapore, was fascinating! And it brought to mind a notion I've been musing about for years... i.e., an NGO+NPO based municipal transportation infrastructure, and operational services!
    .
    The NGO+NPO community... what jeremy Rifkin calls the "Third Sector"!... has-- historically!-- been the driving force behind countless product, and service innovations!... indeed, it is the very unwitting foundation upon which the remaining two Primary Sectors (i.e., the Private Sector, and Bureaucratic Sector!), are rooted! And the difference between the remaining two Primary Sectors, is that it's focus has aimed at mitigating the negative impacts that both of the remaining two Primary Sectors have had, on endless products and services!... and, hence, the tags, NGO and NPO! And!... which accounts for the endless number of NGO+NPO advocacies, and advocates, which have emerged over the millennia!
    .
    (Incidentally, a TRUE MEMBER of the "First Sector"... i.e., MY ascription for the NGO+NPO Sector and community!... and, inasmuch-- and again!-- as it's the unwitting basis for the other two Primary Sectors!... must be B-O-T-H NGO and NPO! And, because, the For Profit Sector can stand up and say-- correctly!-- that it's NG/ Nongovernmental!... and the Bureaucratic Sector can stand up and say-- correctly!-- that it's NP/ Nonprofit!... and so, CONFOUNDING THE PERCEPTION-- AT LEAST!-- OF THE NATURE OF THE "FIRST SECTOR"! And!... and coupled with "COLLUSIVELY VOLUNTEERED" products/ money, services, and manpower from either or both the For Profit and Bureaucratic Sectors!... the "strings" BINDING the "Third Sector", will invariably pose additional problems in the "Third Sector's" ability to foster an INDEPENDENT VOICE on any given product, and/ or service!)
    .
    Without getting into a history lesson on the evolution of this MOST IMPORTANT of the three Primary Sectors, I would like to focus on the role of the "First Sector" in the Metasector, called Transportation (a Metasector, being a large product or service category!... e.g., Energy!... into which related Epi-sectors-- e.g., electric energy!-- are then divided!)!
    .
    To conclude... and simply put!... there is no reason why the members of the "First Sector" within communities that are concerned about an Epi-Sector of the Metasector called Transportation (e.g., the Epi-sector called, "automobile transportation"!), can't proffer the notion of a wholly NGO+NPO based automobile transportation infrastructure, and service!... and, to begin a Crowd Funding campaign (e.g.!), to that end!
    .
    Imagine... if you will!... and in addition to proffering the notion of a wholly Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and Free and Open Source Harware (FOSH) based SOLAR ELECTRIC AUTOMOBILE URBAN TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE!... that the "First Sector" advocacies and advocates involved with "urban solar electric FOSS-FOSH transportation", then include a VOLUNTEER, AND FREE COMPONENT, to such as just aforenoted!
    .
    And so!... the "First Sector" begins rolling out their own vehicles for public use, and begins advocating around FREE TRANSPORTATION!... and, in opposition-- as is usually the case!-- to FOR PROFIT, and COLLUSIVE BUREAUCRATIC versions, of the "Transportation Metasector's" Epi-sector (i.e., if the latter two Primary Sectors would even consider a Solar powered variant!)!
    .
    The main distinction these three Primary Sectors have in their respective approaches to the Meta Sectors and Epi-Sectors with which they deal (AND TOUCHING ON E-V-E-R-Y PRODUCT AND SERVICE KNOWN TO MAN!), is that each come at a given Meta Sector's Epi-sector product and/ or service, from a different BEHAVIORAL PERSPECTIVE (i.e., one wants profit for a product and/ or service!... one feigns-- in many instances a "public" product and/ or service!... and, the last, desires a magnanimous and egalitarian product and/ or service!)!
    .
    The hope for many within the "First Sector", is that only the "First Sector" will be left standing!... and, that FOR PROFIT products and services, and COLLUSIVE "PUBLIC" products and services, will be aberrations of the past! And!... and just like-- I suggest!-- alien civilizations have realized for millions of years!... that mankind will eventually provide RATIONAL, AND WHOLLY SUSTAINABLE products and services for both itself, and its environment in a BEHAVIORALLY ADJUSTED manner!
    .
    And thus!... this will require a P-R-I-M-A-R-Y F-O-C-U-S on the M-O-S-T I-P-O-R-T-A-N-T Metasector!... Health (i.e., Public Health and Personal Health!... and Macro Environmental and Micro Environmental Health!)!... and, Health's most important Epi-sector, Health ICT!
    .
    In other words!... Health (and in the combined four areas as just denoted!... with a S-P-E-C-I-A-L F-O-C-U-S on Health ICT!... and a F-U-R-T-H-E-R S-P-E-C-I-A-L F-O-C-U-S on our need for a new Global Health Ontology Classification Paradigm!) IS THE D-E-F-I-N-I-T-I-V-E "U-P-P-E-R O-N-T-O-L-O-G-Y" H-O-L-Y G-R-A-I-L LONG SOUGHT BY MANY UPPER ONTOLOGY ENTHUSIASTS!... THE APEX INTO WHICH A-L-L O-T-H-E-R ONTOLOGIES ON EARTH ARE TO BE GROUPED (AND BEGINNING WITH ALL HEALTH ONTOLOGIES!), OR DISCARDED AS PATHIC!... AND, IS OUR MOST IMPORTANT PLANETARY CONCERN!
    .
    Please!... no emails!

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.