Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is partnering with one of its major competitors, Uber to offer carpool subsidized rides to clients in its six operational zones. This comes at a time when many transit agencies are looking into expanding the capabilities on their mobile apps to make transit easier and more affordable.
Customers can now book Uber Pool rides through DART’s all-in-one travel tool, GoPass to GoLink zones including Kleberg/Rylie, Far North Plano, Inland Port, Legacy West in Plano, North Central Plano/Chase Oaks.
According to Uber’s head of product for transit agency solution, “We want to make sure we do the best thing for our riders. When you come to the Uber app, you are trying to go from point A to point B. Transit, a lot of times, it could be efficient, or it could be the most affordable option for you. When that happens, we want to make sure that you have that option at your fingertips.”
DART’s president, Gary Thomas claims that although the transit agency has a different pace and culture than ride-hailing companies such as Uber, they will assume a similar approach. “We need to be a little more adventurous,” he said. “We need to step out and pilot things. If they work, great. If they don’t work, let’s either adjust it or abandon it.”
Most Dallas residents are unfamiliar with UberPool as the service has not been available in this area. The service works in the same way as UberX but is cheaper as the driver could pick up two or more riders before proceeding their respective destinations.
People living in areas with few transit options will benefit from free and discounted rides. The DART stops that are eligible for the service include UNT Dallas Station, Buckner Station, and Parker Road Station in Plano.
Once a client requests an UberPool ride on the GoPass app, it matches them with 2 other riders headed in the same direction. The rides will be free to DART locations up to May 9th. The clients will incur a cost of $1 per ride after this date. They can also ask for an Uber ride at the cost of $3 to any place within the neighborhood.
The service is available from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Additional hours are available to residents using the UNT Dallas station where they can book for rides on weekends between 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Drivers who are interested in receiving UberPool requests can go to the mentioned DART stations. The driver will be able to see whether the rider has selected UberPool on the Driver app. The order of pickups and drop-offs is based on the riders’ routes and destination. However, the driver is required to drop the riders off in the order displayed on the app.
The driver then goes to the first pickup address and as with solo rides, starts the 2-minute countdown timer. If the rider doesn’t show up within the two minutes timeframe, the driver can either wait for a while longer or cancel the trip by selecting the rider no-show option.
If the rider shows up, the driver may get another UberPool request before dropping off the first rider. The navigation to the pick-up point is updated automatically.
The one year contract between the two firms will cost about $1.15 million liable to the miles driven and the total number of rides. DART is going to fund about half of this cost while the other half is from the Federal Transit Administration grant. This is part of the $8 million that was awarded to transit agencies by the U.S. Department of Transportation through the federal agency in a bid to spark experimentation of on-demand mobility services.
The DART-Uber partnership came about after both firms carried out a successful trial back in 2015 on ST. Patrick’s Day parade. Dallas residents were encouraged to book a ride to and from town for the festivities. The ride back was to ensure that they got back home safe after having one too many glasses of beer.
According to Morgan Lyons, Uber’s spokesman, this helped raise the profile of transit agencies in an area where the services they offer are overlooked. “Being relevant to that kind of community helped us a lot more in a way than just saying: ‘Ride DART,’” he said. “Taxi service here is different than in New York or DC. It’s not something folks think of quite as readily.
Apart from encouraging residents to use transit agencies, the partnership has also been implemented with the aim of reducing solo driving commutes. This is particularly because of the huge number of jobs within half a mile of DART stations, but not necessarily a walkable distance. Such partnerships will help complete ‘last mile trips’.
The partnership is aimed at making ride-hailing and public transport as systems that complement each other as opposed to competing against one another. Together, the firms will be able to provide riders with a cheaper and quicker way of getting around in the hope that this will drive up business for them.
Uber sees this as a business opportunity as they aim to become more profitable and probably, even go public. Since its inception in 2009, the app-based company has expanded to multiple companies across the globe. The company coordinates freight, delivers food, and drops off riders to their intended destinations. The partnership with DART is only one of the few partnerships Uber has gotten into. In Pinellas County, Fla, Uber has partnered with transportation agencies to connect people with the bus system.
DART riders that are out of the mentioned stations’ neighborhoods could also be looking at upgraded commutes. In less than two weeks, riders in Glenn Heights, Lakewood, Farmers Branch, Lake Highlands, North Dallas, University Park, and Highland Park will also be able to book Uber’s GoLink service from DART’s GoPass app. GoLink is DART’s replacement of the On-Call system which served the mentioned neighborhoods. Instead of waiting for the scheduled, fixed route bus, DART, through Uber will pick up the GoLink riders from wherever they are and take them to their destination provided it is within the GoLink zone.
The DART-Uber partnership will not only make transit more appealing and convenient but will also save DART some money as commuters will be able to use smaller, on-demand cars as opposed to empty buses. The partnership is also making DART services more app-focused. If you or a loved one are involved in an accident due to the negligence of another party, you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at Thompson Law. We offer clients a free case evaluation and will help you get the proper medical treatment and compensation for your suffering. Call us 24/7 at 866-293-4768.
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