Influential Factors in the Formation of Partnerships Between Ridehail Companies and Public Transportation
Research Team: Susan Pike (lead) and Sara Kazemian
UC Campus(es): UC Davis
Problem Statement: In response to the increasing presence of ridehail services, namely Uber and Lyft, a growing number of transit agencies have begun to form partnerships with these and other shared-use mobility companies to offer programs that integrate these services with traditional transit. The programs often start as pilots and typically involve subsidizing ridehail travel for passengers connecting to public transit routes or travelling at times that public transit offers limited or no service (such as late at night). However, the number of transit agencies forming these partnerships is still small, and other agencies note concerns over liability and costs, as well as the ability to meet federal standards.
Project Description: This project focuses on recent data collected primarily from transit agencies that have not formed partnerships with ridehail services with the aim of identifying factors necessary for partnerships to form and eventually lead to programs that benefit both transit agencies and their passengers. Findings from this project indicate that transit agencies are very concerned about the cost-effectiveness of these partnerships. Thus, even if transit agencies have favorable attitudes towards shared-use mobility companies, they still worry partnering with them may not be a good use of public resources, or may not solve their challenges. During interviews, multiple transit agencies emphasized this point and stated that they are still unconvinced that these partnerships resolve transit agencies’ problems, or at least are not cost-effective. For now, transit agencies face a number of service challenges, and partnerships with ridehail companies likely offers some piece of the puzzle to improving public transit.