Transit Agency Partnerships with Ridehailing Companies

pinellas bus


Susan Pike


In early 2016 the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority implemented a pilot program in partnership with Uber and United Taxi (a local company) to provide subsidized travel for trips to and from specified public transportation stops (Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority). Since that time, similar pilots have sprung up throughout the US. Presumably, the proliferation of these pilots is due to early successes; likely measured by cost savings, increased ridership, expanded service areas, improved first/last mile connections, and increased visibility ofridehailing services. We would expect the outcomes of these pilots to be shared among public transportation operators, resulting in improvements as they are implemented in new locations over time. However, much of the information that might be used to evaluate these programs is confidential or proprietary, creating challenges for public transportation operators to discuss details with others. This project aims to identify the factors informing the implementation of these pilots and the pathways by which relevant information is shared among public transportation operators. Key questions are: Do transit agencies gather information independently; from one another, academic sources, or policy experts, or others? Are transit agencies primarily informed by potential ridehailing industry partners as they consider these partnerships and programs? And how do these different pathways impact the partnerships transit agencies form with ridehailing companies and the programs they launch?