While Uber is currently used mainly as a taxi substitute/alternative, services like Uber (or Lyft) could be used in a number of other fashions as well.
One example is the way that the town of Summit, New Jersey, is now using the service as part of a new pilot program that aims to potentially reduce congestion at the parking lots used by the town’s train station.
The train station in question is a common point of departure for those who work in or near New York City, so it is heavily used by commuters. Naturally, this leads to traffic.
Green Car Reports provides more: “The program is the first of its kind in New Jersey, and will allow the town to avoid spending money on a new parking lot, according to The Verge. … Initially, 100 commuters who have purchased parking passes will be eligible for free Uber rides to and from the station. Others will be able to ride for $2.00 each way, meaning a round trip will cost the same as a daily parking pass at the station. During the experiment, these rides will be subsidized by the local government.”
From the Philly Voice:
The city of Summit, located in Union County, announced earlier this month that the partnership with Uber will extend to residents whose trips begin or end in Summit, or at the train station, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Rides will cost $2 each way to replace the daily $4 parking fee in a long-term commuter lot.
“As an alternative transportation option, ridesharing is not new,” Summit Mayor Nora Radest said. “But our program is the first of its kind in the United States to use ridesharing technology as a parking solution. Our innovation has the potential to shape how municipalities think about and implement parking options in the future.”
City records indicate that 39 percent of morning commuter trips in Summit end at the train station, while 29 percent of evening trips from the station end within Summit. Rather than spend taxpayer dollars on a new public parking lot, the city will effectively save 100 spaces by launching the Uber program.
Local officials estimate the city, whose population stands at about 22,000, will save residents $5 million in taxes over the next 20 years by forgoing a new parking lot.