Harry Lynch email@example.com
This week we might begin to see whether Uber can help smash public transportation’s “first mile, last mile” barrier.
Yes: Uber, the new-fangled nemesis of old-fashioned taxis everywhere. Uber, so cheap and ubiquitous that it has begun luring riders off Charlotte’s trains and buses.
Why didn’t each of us relax on the bus to work this morning, reading books and digging WiFi? One answer is that most of us live too far away (hi, Cary!) from the nearest stop. First mile.
And maybe the office is a long hike (yo, Research Triangle Park!) from the last stop, too. Last mile.
So we drove the car instead.
Here’s a new option with the potential to overcome this considerable obstacle: Use one smartphone app to plot the best bus route – and, if it helps, book an Uber driver to cover that “first mile” to the bus stop or the “last mile” to the destination, or both. All with the proverbial one click.
Uber has made modest moves to acknowledge public transit options in other parts of the country. But the San Francisco-based company is going farther with GoTriangle.
It all comes together in the Rider app distributed by Durham-based TransLoc, which shows commuters where their bus is and how soon it will arrive.
“Our mission is to make transit so great that it becomes everybody’s first choice for transportation,” Doug Kaufman, the TransLoc CEO, said in an interview. “This Uber partnership is a way to make transit more viable, by making it easier to get people to the bus stop.”
GoTriangle, better known as Triangle Transit, is the three-county bus agency that hauls students and commuters from one town to another. TransLoc’s Rider app tracks buses for GoTriangle and 140 transit agencies across the country. Rider will be Uber-enhanced for transit users in Memphis, Tenn., starting March 22 – and for GoTriangle riders starting Thursday.
GoTriangle, Uber and TransLoc will roll out the new app in an event scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at Durham Station, the downtown bus hub. Wool E. Bull and Mayor Bill Bell will be there.