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Uber is licensing its ride-hailing software to three more public transit agencies

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Uber’s subscription as a service program for transit is growing

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Uber is expanding its software as a service (SaaS) business with three additional public transit partnerships. The ride-hailing company announced that it would be selling the software that powers its ride-hailing business to transit agencies in Denver, Colorado; Cecil County, Maryland; and Porterville, California. The news comes amid Uber’s broader push into public transit.

Denver’s Regional Transportation District will start using Uber’s management software this week to manage its fleet of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, while Cecil Transit and Porterville Transit will follow in the weeks to come. For a subscription fee, these transit agencies will be able to use Uber’s “matching and marketplace technology to facilitate on-demand community rides using their own transit fleet,” the company says.

Uber announced its first transit deal with Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area in July 2020. As part of that deal, the Transportation Authority of Marin pays Uber a subscription fee to use its software to facilitate requesting, matching, and tracking its vehicle fleet. Cape May County in New Jersey is also a customer of Uber’s SaaS program.

Starting in late April, Ceil Transit will use Uber’s software to transport “riders in recovery seeking access to employment, essential services, appointments, and recovery programs,” Uber says. The service area is a closed loop.

Porterville Transit, based between Fresno and Bakersfield, will roll out transit vehicles with Uber’s software to members of its community in early May. Porterville previously had used a software company called Transloc, which is owned by Ford, but switched to Uber for “enhanced reliability.”

Over the years, Uber has been accused of directly competing with and poaching riders from subways, trains, and buses. Declining bus and subway ridership has been pegged to the rise of app-based ride-hailing in dozens of cities across the US. Recently, Uber has added transit directions and ticketing to its app in some cities in the hopes that by giving transit equal footing in its app, it can blunt that criticism. It also acquired an Atlanta-based company called Routematch, which sells software to public transit agencies for data management, dispatching, trip booking, and ticketing.

Last year, Uber announced it would begin selling train and bus tickets through its app for customers in Denver. Since then, the company has integrated public transportation schedules and directions into its app for over a dozen other cities. Less than a year later, Uber says that “over 2 million riders” have tried Uber Transit.