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PSTA, Uber offer free, late-night rides for low-income residents
Date:  7/22/2016
ArticleType:  Member News

PSTA, Uber offer free, late-night rides for low-income residents
The one-year pilot program begins August 1

St. Petersburg, Fla. – Thousands of transportation disadvantaged residents in Pinellas County will soon have free, on-demand rides when regular bus service ends.

The one-year pilot program, called TD Late Shift, is the latest collaboration between the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and Uber set to usher the county into a new era of public transportation.

“We are solving age-old transportation barriers with technology, innovation, and Uber,” said Brad Miller, PSTA Chief Executive Officer.

The $300,000 grant-funded pilot demonstration, awarded by the Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged (TD), is aimed at helping low-income, unemployed residents overcome transportation barriers to employment. With this new program, riders can request up to 23 free rides per month between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Rides must be to a place of employment or residence.

“This is what the future of transportation in Pinellas County looks like,” said Miller. “It’s multimodal, high-tech, and on-demand.”

PSTA was the largest of five grant recipients chosen to demonstrate bold and innovative solutions for TD customers. The goal of this specific pilot is to develop and implement a model that can be replicated statewide and show a need for more robust funding of similar programs long-term.

“Expected outcomes go beyond simply providing rides to customers during non-service hours,” said Miller. “We are hopeful to be able to show a direct local economic impact by creating new opportunities for unemployed residents who were previously unable to get jobs because of a lack of transportation.”

PSTA first publicized its relationship with Uber earlier this year when the two transportation providers launched Direct Connect, a six-month pilot program that connects people to bus stops for a subsidized rate. Now, PSTA is expanding that program to span across the entire county offering unlimited, on-demand Uber and Taxi rides for approximately $1.

“Uber is excited to partner with PSTA to give thousands of disadvantaged Pinellas County residents access to safe and reliable transportation,” said Tom Maguire, Uber General Manager. “At Uber, we’ve always believed that ridesharing complements public transportation. We look forward to continuing to work with PSTA on innovative solutions in the Tampa Bay region.”

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