Uber and Lyft Want to Replace Public Buses

Bloomberg Tech: “In Uber’s early days, it said it wanted to be ‘everyone’s private driver.‘ Now the company and its main U.S. competitor, Lyft, are playing around with the idea of becoming the bus driver, too.”

“Uber has partnered with a handful of local public transportation agencies to strike deals like the one in Pinellas Park, which it expanded earlier this month. Later this month Lyft plans to launch a partnership with Centennial, Colorado, its first deal where a local government will subsidize its rides. The company also said it has helped a dozen transit agencies apply for federal grants that would pay for a portion of Lyft fares in situations where its drivers would effectively become part of the public transportation system.”

“Each of the current projects is tiny, but they could eventually be combined into something big, said Emily Castor, director of transportation policy at Lyft.”

“As officials grapple with those questions, it’s hard to ignore the real savings for governments—and real revenue for Uber and Lyft.”

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  • S1AMER

    Uh, just a reminder: Lots of people who ride buses are poorer than your typical Uber or Lyft client. In other words, they might not have smart phones to summon a ride. Please keep that in mind, planners, lest you open up a whole new avenue for screwing the poor.

    • pisher

      They wouldn’t have the money to pay Uber prices–even if there was ride-sharing going on. And what happens when there’s more demand–will Uber agree to give up surge pricing? I doubt it.

      And of course it will pollute more. And the quality of service will be dependent on guys driving around in their own cars. It’s a terrible terrible idea. We need less Uber, not more.

      Community-based cab companies can co-exist with mass transit, but neither can co-exist with an aggressively predatory business like Uber–or Lyft. They’re trying to create a monopoly, and of course put a whole lot of union employees out of work. Gee, why would that appeal to local government? Who is in charge of those local governments, pray tell?

      • Tipsy McStagger

        Also, there’s the increased traffic congestion with everyone taking cars instead of the bus. And the bus can’t simply refuse to go somewhere sometime because they don’t want to. Uber and Lyft drivers can simply decide not to work that day if they are tired.

        • pisher

          And increased air pollution. How many Uber drivers have electric cars, or even hybrids? If they all did, buses, trains, light rail–still a better option, and local cab companies can pick up the slack. And Uber wants to put them all out of business.

          I’d rather walk. I’ve never taken an Uber cab, and I never will. Easy to say, living in New York City, but they are here, and how many proper progressive young people are addicted to that service here? Too damn many.

          Thing is, mass transit tends to be lousy out in car country. So this is a cheap band-aid to put on that problem. They can talk about lower taxes, and then let people who can’t afford their own car pay. But it’d backfire on them, badly.

  • jeff s

    More privatization nonsense. More moving away from the social to the atomized.

    • MVH1

      Atomized?

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