Uber on Transit App

Travel options just got better for users of The Transit App. On Monday, the app service was updated to integrate Uber, a ridesharing service, natively into the user interface. The Transit App supports Uber in 47 North American cities with more markets likely to come online as both The Transit App and Uber expand their services.

What The Transit App is doing isn’t all that different from Car2Go and its takeover of the dynamic transportation app RideScout. In September, we gushed about that merger because it represented a more holistic approach to urban transportation services. Marrying different transportation services together puts the power of personal transportation decisions in the hands of riders. When users know the transportation choices available to them, they can choose to take any mode on-the-fly. And for urban dwellers, that means their perceived need for a reliable personal vehicle is greatly reduced.

The Transit App has been growing rapidly and wisely over the past year. The app team has been focused on ensuring the stability of the app and the locations that it serves while streamlining the user experience and adding useful features. The trip planner function, Nearby Mode, and universal access to schedules have all seen massive improvements. The Transit App has also added tons of new regions to its service and just launched bike sharing data over the summer. The addition of Uber is a positive step forward for The Transit App because it increases its universality as a transportation app while maintaining simplicity. (And, we have to imagine that finding a way monetize the app isn’t too bad as well.)

How Uber works in The Transit App

IMG_0853When users launch the app in any of the 47 North American markets that both Uber and The Transit App serve, they will see Uber as a mode choice with real-time departure information from their current location. Users can pan around the map in the app or search a specific location for service, which will also display real-time departure from the intended location. Users can also choose which kind of Uber service that they want like UberPEDAL or uberX. To do so, users need to tap the Uber tile in Nearby Mode and toggle the “swap” function on the tile.

Trip planning now displays Uber services whenever a trip is generated in search boxes or dropping pins between two locations. The app automatically calculates the estimated wait time for an Uber pickup and the drive time. The cost of the Uber trip is also estimated in the trip plan. Tapping on the trip will show three options: a ride request, a map of the likely routing for the Uber journey, and more Uber options. If that latter is chosen, all possible Uber services will be shown with estimated times and costs for comparison.

Booking a trip with Uber from The Transit App is fairly straightforward. On the Uber tile in Nearby Mode, the user can tap to reveal the “request” option (this can also be done in the trip planner in a similar way). By requesting the service, the Uber app will be launched with the preferred pickup location identified in the open app. From there, it’s a simple tap of the confirmation request.

Of course, some people may never want Uber as a trip option. The Transit App makes it easy to disable the service through the app settings. Users can simply uncheck Uber as an option within the setting window.

For more on Uber and The Transit App, check out their splash page on the new service.

Supported Puget Sound transportation services by The Transit App include: Sound Transit (buses, Link Light Rail, and Sounder), King County Metro Transit (buses, streetcars, and water taxis), Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit (buses and foot ferries), Intercity Transit, Washington State Ferries, Pronto! Cycle Share, and Uber.

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Stephen is a professional urban planner in Puget Sound with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. With stints in great cities like Bellingham and Cork, Stephen currently lives in Seattle. He primarily covers land use and transportation issues and has been with The Urbanist since 2014.