Public Transit By Uber Seems To Be Going Alright

Last year, the town of Innisfil decided to partner with Uber instead of spending piles of money to build its own transit system from scratch. I said then that it was an interesting idea and that I was pulling for it to work out.

So how is it working out? Pretty well, it appears.

Innisfil, Ont., estimates an experimental transit partnership with Uber is saving the town more than $8 million a year compared to using an equivalent door-to-door bus service.

“This worked for us, and we’re thrilled,” Deputy Mayor Lynn Dollin told guest host David Common on CBC’s Metro Morning on Thursday.

“If we were to try to offer the service that we offer now — so 24 hours a day, to any resident in the municipality — it would cost $8 million, so there’s absolutely no way we could have done that.”
The town and company say 3,400 users have completed more than 26,700 trips in the first eight months of the program.

I don’t know that the more rural parts of Waterloo Region will ever try out something like this at least in part because the taxi lobby would flip its lid, but it’s certainly something worth thinking about. It would be much more efficient and convenient than trying to connect them through bus routes that only run a few times a day.

2 comments
  1. Just as long as they train every single “public transit by uber” driver that they can’t turn away guide dogs.

    1. Hopefully a steady flow of city money and the possible threat of losing it if too many people complain has moved that train along. You don’t hear a whole lot about accessibility in all this, but in mainstream articles that’s not really a surprise.  But the broader concept I definitely like.  I just hope, like you said, that they’re filling in all the details.  Hearing about the old people and the stroke folk is mildly encouraging.

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