The local transit app Moovit announced today that it will soon be integrated with the ride-sharing app Uber in 131 cities in 22 countries. This is kind of the chocolate and peanut butter of urban travel.
Moovit uses official transit data plus crowdsourced data to give riders the best information about potential routes. Is the train running slow? Take the bus or find a bike sharing service. Is your regular bus line caught in traffic? An alternate route may be faster. With Uber integration, ride sharing becomes yet another option for managing local trips.
One of the tricky factors for public transit is “the first and last mile.” Buses and trains can serve huge swathes of a metro area, but they are not door-to-door services. In the best cases, it’s a quick walk from your front door to the nearest station, but sometimes it’s a trek, especially as you get farther from the city center.
Moovit’s integration with Uber can make public transit a more viable option. A recent study by the American Public Transportation Association found that people who use ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are more — not less — likely to use public transit. They also own fewer cars than people who don’t use ride sharing. The study found that many people who combined transit and ride sharing put off buying a car, decided not to buy one at all, or even sold their car with no plan to replace it.
At first public transit authorities were worried that ride sharing would take people away from using trains and buses. But that turned out to not be the case, according to Mantill Williams at APTA in a phone interview. “What they’re taking away is driving alone or taking a taxi,” he said.
“Our goal is to provide our users with the best possible experience on public transport, but there are times when it’s quicker for users to get around via car,” said Nir Erez, Moovit CEO in a press release. “By now offering the option to order an Uber for all or part of a journey, we’re able to give our users even more freedom in deciding how they want to get from point A to point B.”