Will public transit include Uber in the future?

Posted at 5:25 PM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-15 18:10:22-04

Changing the face of public transportation in Tampa Bay could mean fewer bus rides and more Uber rides.

"Could we take an hour off of HART and PSTA's time and with that savings could we fund Uber trips all night long?" State senator Jeff Brandes (R) is asking, despite pushback against ride-sharing services in Tampa Bay.

He said sometimes bus routes are effective, but many times they're not.

"In the areas that are underserved or where it's not cost effective, we should be looking at other options and I think those options absolutely should include Uber and Lyft style transportation," Brandes said.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority agrees.

They said, "Uber is not a trend.  It's the future of public transportation and PSTA has every intention of being a part of that future."

In February, they launched a Direct Connect service that reimburses people half of a ride fare up to $3 within a certain zone.

"We should see public transportation as an organism, something that adopts and changes over time, something that is open minded to new technologies and new opportunities," Brandes said.

Senator Brandes said ride-sharing is a defense against DUI's. Next he wants to see how public transit can use Uber and Lyft car-pooling services, cost-effectively.

"These options are available in California, they're available in South Florida, they're available in New York, they should be available in Tampa Bay," Brandes said.

Click to find out more about PSTA's Direct Connect