Who Needs a Car, or Bus, When You’ve Got Uber?

The Uber revolution keeps on churning. The transportation service company has finally rolled out a service in the Washington region that resembles the kind of ride-hailing jitney service that I long predicted eventually would enter the marketplace. This service is potentially so disruptive that it could drive public mass transit out of the market for all but the highest-volume transportation corridors — although Uber denies that such is its aim.

From the Washington Post:

Beginning Wednesday … riders will be directed to pickup points within two blocks of their origin and dropped off within two blocks of their destinations, according to Uber. Riders will endure a slightly longer wait for a driver match — up to two minutes — while Uber works to place them along the optimal route. They then will be instructed where to catch their ride.

The perk for riders? Discounted trips. Express Pool is up to 50 percent cheaper than ride-splitting option UberPool and 75 percent cheaper than UberX, the door-to-door ride-hailing service, Uber says.

Finding rides won’t be a problem. Uber has 50,000 active drivers in the Washington region.

Hopefully, local governments will not throw roadblocks in Uber’s way to protect their local transit authorities. Rather, they should ask themselves what they can do to make the service operate more efficiently. In particular, they should proactively brainstorm with Uber to see how to make it easy for riders to congregate at loading spots and for Uber drivers to access them without blocking traffic.

  • David Obermark

    A man I know recently started driving for Uber. I will not go into the details, but based on him driving for them, I decided to check the Uber app out.

    First glance is that I might be able to reduce my costs by half when I need a ride. What remains to be seen is if the level of service is acceptable.

  • Chris

    Except that uber is an unsustainable business model gambling that it can survive by stealing from employees and the public until all of its cars are driverless.

    I only take cabs.


    On the public transit front, the densest routes that you’re referring to are the ones used by the vast majority of transit commuters.

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