By Robbie Webber
Transit agencies have increasingly partnered with transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to supplement fixed-route services. TNCs are used to extend service to less-dense areas of a community, provide first- and last-mile connections, operate on weekends or evenings, and for paratransit services. Until now, transit agencies have not had guidelines for the best way to set up these partnerships. A new TRB publication provides this guidance while outlining options based on the goals of both TNCs and transit agencies.
In addition to a survey of current practices, the report has a Partnership Playbook chapter that helps transit agencies think through important considerations before setting up a partnership with a TNC. These issues include the target audience and goals for the partnership, data sharing, payment arrangements, ADA and Title VI compliance, and joint marketing.
Partnerships between TNCs and transit agencies are an important tool to complement existing or planned transit services. TNCs can provide emergency rides home that will allow passengers to feel more comfortable using transit, cover service that is not cost-effective with fixed-route or on-demand transit vehicles, and allow more passengers to access high-capacity routes from low-density locations. But transit agencies must be clear why they want to pursue partnerships and how TNCs will best fit with the goals of the agency. Assessing the costs and benefits to each partner and transparency for the private entity is also an important consideration. This report and the Playbook will help with this planning.
Robbie Webber is a Senior Associate at SSTI.