A recent study prepared for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) through the Transit Cooperative Research Program has revealed that the people using services like Uber and Lyft are actually MORE and not LESS likely to travel on public transport. The survey taken by 4,500 people in seven different US cities showed that 50% of people travelled by train and 45% used buses frequently. The study can be viewed as insight into the impact of ride-sourcing on public transport. This has lead us here at SmartRail World to question whether the results will change the relationships between the two types of transport provider and encourage more collaboration.
For APTA, the study proves that the move towards shared services and use of public transport is part of a shift in lifestyle as people are making the most of public transport, finding seamless journeys and spending less on travel than they would if they simply drove. President and CEO of APTA, Michael Melaniphy, has said: “The way people get around in communities is being transformed, and public transportation is at the heart of this formal shift… Together with companies like Lyft and Uber, we are integral to creating a dynamic multimodal lifestyle.”
Both Uber ( @ ) and Lyft ( @ ) have commented on APTA’s study, expressing their belief that ride-sourcing compliments public transport, and that through working together public transport systems and companies like them will be able to create a better transport system, with ease of use, less cars and less pollution. In particular, ride-sourcing works to fill the gaps left open by many public transit systems on the weekend or late at night, with the highest levels of demand between 10pm and 4am. In fact, 54% of those questioned had in the last three months used ride-sourcing recreationally or socially.
In addition to talking to the public, APTA’s study also questioned over 70 public transport agencies, finding that a number of them expressed an interest in working alongside ride-sourcing companies like Uber and Lyft. By working with one another new technologies and routes can be created to improve passenger experience and the way we move around cities. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) President/Executive Director Gary Thomas argued that “Customers expect choice and convenience when they travel… Working with Uber and Lyft, and integrating them into our own transit app, is one way we can do that. We believe these relationships help make public transportation relevant to a new market of prospective customers.”
Despite being hotly protested worldwide by taxi companies, drivers and some governments, DART are not the only ones to believe that working with ridesourcing companies can be a step forward. Back in July, SmartRail World reported that Uber had announced a partnership with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) to help solve the challenge of passengers getting to or from the station or bus stop.
MARTA CEO Keith Parker recognised Uber’s potential to help passengers: “There are places that don’t make sense for us to add new bus or train service. This Uber partnership is to take care of that last mile of service.” In January, we then announced that the TransLoc Rider app would include Uber among transits to advise the public of the best route for their journey.
The reasoning behind APTA’s recent study likely stems from their role as a not-for-profit advocate for public transport programmes in the US. The association looks for ways to improve and develop the system. In this case APTA have found that collaboration with ridesourcing companies may offer a solution to problems faced by public transport agencies, and may also be a way to encourage more people to use public transport.
Patrick Scully, Chair of the Business Members Board of Governors at APTA has said: “These new shared services offer a great opportunity” and in the wake of the findings APTA has announced that they look forward to a future working with Uber and Lyft.
To take a look at the results of APTA’s study click here.
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