The Transit App (integrated with Uber now) makes transportation easier

By Cynthia Shahan, Clean Technica, 15 June 2017

Transportation systems never stay still. They are practically by definition and ever-evolving part of our society. As you may have noticed, ever-changing and expanding multimodal transportation systems are increasingly relying on apps, or connected to apps.

In my recent experience of car-free weeks, I relied on multimodal systems and found it easy and efficient. We used all kinds of apps and covered miles of cityscapes and landscapes. However, many of the cities I visited offered good public transit. A bus, the plane, a train, a bus, to walk, walk, walk, and an Uber to an Airbnb.

Now, people looking to cross modes and get around more on mass transit have another helpful tool — Transit app. The app doesn’t cover the full globe, but it does already support these regions: United States (more on specific US cities further down), CanadaFranceUKDeutschland (Germany), AustraliaItalia (Italy), Mexico, and Kenya.

Traveling in Europe, we used Uber to get to the metro in a stress-free way, but it would have been more useful if the Uber rides had been integrated into the broader trip we were taking. The Transit app offers one thing we were missing, and Uber has apparently recognized this. Uber is starting to integrate transit stops and departure times into the rider app via cooperation with the Transit app team, so that Uber users can more easily use a variety of modes to get to where they’re going.

On our trip, we searched out train locations and times ourselves, one Metro’s customer service agents within the station didn’t even respond to our requests for advice and help, and the experience was one of piecing transit options together. This Transit app sounds like it would have made things much easier.

Driving remains an odd choice of city dwellers, and certainly not an air-friendly one unless they are driving zero-emissions vehicles. Enjoy this great metaphor from the Multimodal Club: “Driving to a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan is like using a chainsaw to carve a turkey.” Yes, it is faster to walk and certainly bicycle locally in many areas of NYC. The app offers a more sensible option: “Public transit when heading downtown. Bikeshare to get to the station. Carshare for grocery shopping. And rideshare after a night on the town.” Makes a lot of transit sense.

This app also helps riders avoid disruptions on the weekends. From the article linked there:  “NYC subways run 24 hours a day. Not every city does. So to plan for inconveniences due to weekend servicing and updating of stops in NYC — use the app to know the most efficient route. (‘Every week, the MTA releases a list of all the trains and stations undergoing weekend service changes. The MTA calls the list (rather benignly) ‘The Weekender’. We tend to prefer the term ‘The McClusterf*ck List’ ”.)”

Uber’s rollout of the Transit integration seems to be happening fast: “We want to make it easier for riders to combine Uber with public transit, so we’ve integrated with the Transit app on Android in nearly 50 U.S. cities.”

Hopefully Uber will soon offer this in Europe as well as other international destinations — to bridge gaps due to unfamiliar territory and language barriers while also supporting local users. Digital Trends continues: “The ride-sharing app promises to refresh these times regularly so that passengers will always have the most updated information available. Should you need more data, you can tap once and make your way over to the Transit app, where Uber promises concise directions, service disruption information, and more.”

The integration is now available on Android in the following US cities:

  • Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • Baltimore, Md.
  • Boston, Mass.
  • Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Charlottesville, Va.
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Chicago, Ill.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Connecticut
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Denver, Colo.
  • Detroit, Mich.
  • Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Hampton Roads, Va.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Houston, Texas
  • Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Louisville, Ky.
  • Madison, Wis.
  • Miami, Fla.
  • New Orleans, La.
  • New York, N.Y.
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Philadelphia, Penn.
  • Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Pittsburgh, Penn.
  • Portland, Maine.
  • Portland, Ore.
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • Sacramento, Calif.
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Diego, Calif.
  • San Francisco Bay Area, Calif.
  • Seattle, Wash.
  • St. Louis, Mo.
  • Tampa Bay Area, Fla.
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Worcester, Mass.

In my experience, the best thing about such apps is that they encourage you to walk more, move more. You can feel free to walk a historic city from one end to another — walk for 2 hours not knowing where you’ll end up — and then, if exhausted, you can pull up the app, find an Uber, a bus, or a subway, and get back. Good transit/transportation apps allow for more activity and more choices.

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