Mass transit companies are looking to the future and calling on Uber and Lyft for help.
RabbitTransit announced a partnership with both ride-sharing companies that expands offerings to riders of its ParaTransit service, which gives door-to-door rides to seniors and people with disabilities.
“The transportation aspect was the hardest thing,” said Rodger Simmons, one of RabbitTransit’s guinea pigs in the ridesharing program.
Simmons grew up knowing he would never get behind the wheel.
“Because of my blindness, I cannot drive,” he said, “so I rely on RabbitTransit for most of my trips to doctors, going out to eat, shop.”
Because he has a disability, Simmons gets door-to-door service for no more than a dollar or two. The same goes for 3,000 other Midstaters who use ParaTransit, which has always been a mini-bus until recently.
“For some occasions, they’ll send me an Uber ride,” Simmons said. “They’ll make all the arrangements. I just have to wait here for the car.”
“There are certainly more transportation needs than there are buses that we have,” RabbitTransit executive director Richard Farr said.
Farr tells us nothing changes on your end, although the car picking you up may.
“We get the request and then we look at how people need to move about,” he said. “So, we manage that process on the back end and notify the consumer who is picking them up and at what time.”
The price also stays the same, no matter what vehicle picks you up.
“What we will do is take those lottery dollars that we typically pay for our vehicles, to be boarding our vehicles, and we’ll use those funds to offset the Uber or Lyft or other transportation providers’ cost,” Farr said.
Farr said the company is also considering taxi partnerships. He says it is not because of a dip or spike in public transit users but to make life easier for current riders.
“As I get older, I have more doctors to go to,” Simmons said. “Now, I just call Rabbit.”
At its peak, RabbitTransit called 25 Uber rides in one day. The program is active only in York County right now.
Farr says the company will expand the offering to all its counties by 2018.