Town Decides to pay Uber instead of Building a Parking Lot
Pilot program is meant to test out ride-hailing as a solution to first mile / last mile challenge and parking problem at transit stations.
Lately, Uber has been positioning itself as the ultimate solution to the eternal challenge of shuttling people between transit hubs and their homes, also known as the “last mile challenge.” To that end, the ride-hail giant announced today that it struck a deal with the suburban town of Summit, New Jersey, to launch the state’s first subsidized commuter program.
Under the deal, Uber will offer free or extremely cheap rides to commuters who have struggled to find parking at Summit’s New Jersey Transit station. In exchange, the city, which is 30 miles from Manhattan, will subsidize the rides, paying Uber directly to cover the costs of the trips. The city says the deal will help free up nearly 100 parking spots at the transit station, as well as keep it from having to spend millions of dollars to build additional parking.
There are currently five parking lots around the Summit train station that are consistently over-crowded. A limited number of commuters who have purchased parking passes are eligible for free Uber rides to and from the station, while others can opt-in for $2 trips each way. (Parking passes at the Summit station are $4-a-day.) The city of Summit will cover the difference. (A city official told BuzzFeed the deal will only cost the city around $167,000 a year, a far cry from the estimated $10 million it would take to build a new parking lot. It is unclear whether this figure includes lost revenue to the city from parking fees.)