Uber launched a new feature Thursday tells users the fastest, cheapest ways to get to their final destination… even if that means taking a city bus instead of an Uber.
For the first time ever, the ride-share company announced in a blog post that it has officially integrated public transportation into its platform. Although the feature, appropriately called “Uber Transit,” is currently only available in Denver, Colorado, Uber wrote that it will be rolling out to other cities in the near future.
“From rides to rail, find the fastest route to your destination with real-time transit information, routes, and directions every step of the way in the Uber app,” the company tweeted, announcing “Uber Transit.”
“Many times, it can be faster or cheaper to take public transportation than any other form of travel, and we want to give our riders a seamless way to access that option right from our app,” Uber wrote in its blog.
Already in the process of adopting of e-bikes and scooters into its offerings, this is a logical next-step for Uber to become a one-stop shop for all things transportation. Especially since Uber wrote that it will allow users to purchase and use tickets from the Regional Transportation District (RTD) inside the app in the coming weeks.
The road to this integration has been hilly, to say the least.
Uber and other ride share companies have been criticized for allegedly decreasing riders’ use of public transportation, negative impacting the efficiency and economy of cities’ mass transit-related infrastructure. In fact, a 2017 study from the University of California, Davis, found that “ride-hailing attracts Americans away from bus services (a 6% reduction) and light rail services (a 3% reduction).”
Other studies, however, suggest just the opposite—claiming that ride-sharing apps are actually a gateway to mass transit as commuters ditch their own cars, and arguing that these services drastically benefit poor and minority communities living in car-centric sprawling cities like Los Angeles.
To smooth over tensions with city regulators and, particularly after instances of being stripped of operating licenses, Uber joined the International Association of Public Transportation (UITP) in December 2017.
Having previously partnered with MoovIt, which provides transit directions and schedules, and Masabi, which handles ticketing, Uber has been planning this trip for a while. And it’s now one step closer to reaching its final destination.