There’s a lot of information in this article. But I want to focus on the sub topic, Does Ride-Hailing Strengthen Public Transit? In theory, Transportation Network Companies (Uber, Lyft, Taxi, etc.) promise to deliver seamless first-mile / last-mile service for the public transit industry sounds good. But in reality, not so much.
We all know the limitations of fixed route public transit routes. Our agencies can get us close to our destination, but close doesn’t work in inclement weather and when we are under a time crunch.
In come TNCs to the rescue. Five minutes out from our final bus stop we can dial-up a ride on our favorite app. They pick us up, deliver us to our final destination, and charge us automatically from our bank account. Sounds awesome, right? Until we see the bill. That last mile trip could cost us more than the 10-mile trip we just took on fixed route transit, and at times 2-3 times as much. That doesn’t work!
First-mile / last-mile solutions sound good. Ride-hailing services are cool to talk about. But when public transportation is a necessity, and our customers are living on a tight budget, we need to keep thinking and be a little more financially creative. What’s next . . .