- Uber rolled out a new "Make My Train" app feature, allowing users to preview train schedules with real-time transit information. Riders can then determine which train they'd like to catch and schedule an Uber pick-up to strategically arrive to the station on time.
- Uber added the feature after learning that many riders would use the predicted wait and trip times on the Uber app to help plan trips to the train station. The new feature is designed to alleviate some of the stress associated with timing a commute or trip that can involve more than one mode of transportation.
- The ride-hailing company launched the feature for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in New York and the Caltrain in the San Francisco Bay Area, two of the largest commuter rail systems in the country. More than 60,000 people take the Caltrain every weekday, and more than 300,000 use the LIRR. Of those riders, over 3,000 used Uber to get to LIRR last month, and around 1,300 used the app to reach the Caltrain, Uber said.
The feature follows a recent series of new mobility offerings from Uber. The company began offering public transit data in its app last year with the launch of Transit Journey Planning, which includes real-time transit data for 15 cities across the country. The company also began offering in-app ticket purchasing for Denver and Las Vegas transit users. Uber says over 2 million riders have tried Uber Transit in the last year.
In Boston, the company recently added a new feature that is intended to encourage more public transit use by highlighting nearby transit stations with real-time arrival updates. Boston is the first U.S. city to test such an update. London riders can also use the feature.
These moves signal Uber's push to connect riders with public transit by becoming an app that encompasses all transportation needs beyond just ride-hailing. While the company has come under plenty of criticism for contributing to already-congested city streets, it now appears to be shifting gears to become a kind of one-stop-shop for city dwellers' transportation needs, whether that involves e-scooters, e-bikes, cars, trains — or even helicopters.
"Uber and the cities that we serve seek to reduce individual car ownership, while increasing: equity, accessibility and efficiency. Uber Transit is bringing public transportation into the Uber app by launching in-app transit journey planning and ticketing," David Reich, head of Uber Transit, said in an email statement.
"Additionally, Uber Transit is making Uber part of the public transit ecosystem by making ridesharing options available for complementary and accessible transit programs and by leveraging Uber technologies to empower transit agencies with cutting-edge tools and services."
The push is also a way for the company to strengthen its relationships in transit-centered cities and remain competitive. Lyft has also moved into transit space by integrating its app with transit information, as well as scooter, bike and car rental information.