Ride-share, Ride-hailing Services Transforming Transit

Metro magazine takes a comprehensive look at the game-changing ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, including Lyft and Uber, that are meeting the needs of commuters and reducing operating costs for public transportation.

The article by Michaela Kwoka-Coleman, “Mobility-On-Demand: The Future of Transportation,” was posted on December 26, 2017, and can be accessed online here. It examines examples around the nation of how transit agencies are partnering with on-demand services, for first-mile/last-mile transportation, paratransit and carpools. 

Public transportation ridership rates have been decreasing for years, and unless transit agencies adapt their service to embrace this innovation, they will lose even more riders. The University of California, Davis Institute of Transportation Studies reported in October that urban ride-hailing passengers decreased their use of public transit by 6 percent! 

One of the biggest problems with transit agencies is their operation as employment agencies instead of transportation services. For example, when many people hear the complaint by MARTA that there is insufficient funds for operations, their first concern is that service will be cut. Most people are unaware that more than 82 cents of every dollar spent on “operations” actually will go to salaries and benefits for employees. Public-private partnerships with entrepreneurial companies will help reduce the cost to taxpayers by reducing the subsidies that go to transit agencies. Private, for-profit companies tend to operate with greater efficiency than government agencies with access to taxpayer dollars

As this article notes, “Embracing public-private partnerships can help cities and transit agencies lower operational cost while connecting underserved communities.” It’s well worth the read!

— Benita Dodd