Partnerships between Ridehailing Companies and Public Transit Agencies: An Exploration of Inter-agency Learning about Pilot Programs

Research Team: Susan Pike (lead) and Sara Kazemian

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: Ride-hailing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are starting to partner with municipalities and transit operators on pilot projects that provide subsidized travel to passengers connecting to public transportation. These pilots have the potential to inform a new model for delivering sustainable, cost-effective and equitable public transportation. However, it is unclear how these pilots are performing given data needed to evaluate performance is confidential or proprietary. In addition, it is unclear how lessons learned from these pilots are spreading among transit agencies and being used to inform future pilots.

Project Description: One key contribution of this study is the distinct examination of the partnerships between transit agencies and the ridehailing industry and their formation, as opposed to the programs implemented as outcomes of these partnerships. Findings from this project illustrate that transit agencies are learning from one another about partnerships with ridehailing companies, how to implement pilots, and what kinds of arrangements to make with the ridehailing industry. Either because, or in spite, of this, the agencies sampled as part of this study tended to pursue similar goals and similar types of partners. Further, the agencies faced similar challenges related primarily to data sharing and some other aspects of working with ridehailing companies. Though the ridehailing industry is not guiding all of the arrangements, the transit agencies have limited power to dictate outcomes. This project represents the first year of a two-year effort. The next phase of this study – Ride-hailing and Public Transportation: Evaluating the Evolution of Partnerships and Pilots – builds upon and expands the research questions to explore the barriers and challenges transit agencies identify in relation to these partnerships and what other factors are affect the implementation of these partnerships and programs.

Status: Completed

Budget: $50,622

Policy Brief(s):