Virginia Considers Subsidizing Uber For Metro Riders

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Officials in Arlington, Va., are considering subsidizing Uber and Lyft to supplement bus service to the D.C. metro for riders who lack access.

The plan is several years away, but transportation officials are eager to get the ball rolling on establishing relationships with popular ride sharing services. The idea would mainly target neighborhoods in north Arlington, where bus service is scant, and provide on-demand service that will take riders to the nearest transit station, reports The Washington Post.

“What we would be supporting is picking up residents in their neighborhood and taking them to one or two designated stops, most likely a transit station,” Marti Reinfeld, transit bureau chief for Arlington, told WaPo. “The county will subsidize that at some level.”

Transit agencies across the country have begun discussions with companies like Uber or Lyft to improve service reliability. Uber has deals with transit systems in Dallas and Atlanta. Lyft currently partners with systems in Denver and Los Angeles. Officials argue it would be more cost effective to partner with a ride sharing service than to continue with the current bus route, reports the Washington Business Journal.

“Those areas are much harder and more expensive to serve with the traditional fixed route transit service,” Reinfeld told WaPo. “We think that working with transportation network companies is a way to continue to provide service to all of our residents.”

Officials also say there is evidence using services like Lyft or Uber would open up metro services to lower income communities. Depending on the area, the proposed service would take riders to either the Court House, Ballston or East Falls Church stations.

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