Transit agencies have long struggled to address “first mile-last mile problem,” meaning how to make transit accessible for riders who find it difficult to get to the nearest transit station or to their ultimate destination after riding transit. The rise of rideshare has created one possible solution and a number of transit agencies are exploring how to partner with rideshare companies to improve mobility for local residents. Florida’s Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA’s) has partnered with Uber, Lyft and a local taxi company to make it easier for residents to use their bus system. The transit agency pays the first $5 of a customer’s fare to or from bus stops within a designated zone, resulting in most trips costing the rider about $1. PSTA and Uber are also partnering to provide low-income residents free, on-demand rides when regular bus service ends. Under the program, qualifying residents will be able to take up to 23 free rides per month anywhere within the county between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM.
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