DENVER — Tuesday, the Regional Transportation District announced 1,200 tickets for RTD rides have been purchased through the Uber app.
The ticket purchasing feature was launched two months ago as part of a first-of-its-kind partnership between RTD and Uber Transit.
At a news conference, executives from Uber and RTD touted the partnership as successful and mutually beneficial.
“This is a great way to give people choices,” said RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova. “And typically what you would find is the transit options are less expensive,” he said.
The partnership began in January with a ride planning feature on Uber before expanding to ticket purchasing. Users simply open the Uber app and decide if they want to book a ride in an Uber vehicle or a public transit ticket.
A third partner, technology company Masabi, provides the mobile ticketing software.
Uber says it wants to be the “Amazon” of transportation and is glad to have the Uber app being used to give riders options. RTD, meanwhile, says more Uber users will now see public transit as a viable option.
“For those people that would never think about transit, it opens up a whole new market to us, especially the visitor,” Genova said.
Both RTD and Uber see the partnership as a step toward solving the “last mile” problem with public transit. Uber says since the partnership began, there’s been an 11.6 percent increase in the number of Uber rides that start or end at a transit stop.
“We cannot cover everything; we do not want to cover everything,” said David Reich, head of Uber Transit. “There’s a lot of ways that Uber can fill the gaps, and be a compliment, and really that’s what our goal is.”
RTD says since the partnership began in January, ridership on buses and commuter rail lines has increased, while ridership on light rail has decreased. RTD says more analysis will be needed to see how the Uber partnership is changing rider habits.
1,200 tickets purchased through Uber may not seem like a lot, considering that RTD’s 2018 ridership topped 97 million riders. But RTD believes Uber can help get even more riders on the system.
“We’ve made this massive investment in infrastructure and we want to get people to that system,” Genova said. “So this is yet another tool we can use in our tool box to help us with that first and final mile,” he said.