Paratransit for Uber

ride-2Boston Globe, p. A11

Letter to Editor:

3/8/2016

 

YOUR MAR. 6 editorial, “Getting Paratransit up to Speed,” raises vital issues for an aging population. With proposed fare increases looming for the T, there is an urgent need to lower “The Ride’s” operating cost from an average of $45.00 per trip. The editorial notes that about 20 percent of the Ride’s customers need wheelchair-accessible vehicles with trained drivers. Although there is not yet a marketplace to match these trained drivers with passengers, couldn’t Boston help it to develop? This would keep Boston on the cutting edge of progress.

A precedent can be found in Florida, in the Orlando suburb of Altamonte Springs. There, the city officers said it was impractical to provide comprehensive transit service across its sprawling nine square miles. So, beginning next week, they will start a one-year, $500,000 pilot partnership with Uber. The city will pay a portion of Uber fares within the municipality, and for rides to the SunRail station.

Perhaps Altamonte Springs will offer a lesson. Businesses and services will meet new (and old) needs when everyone, including public agencies, go the extra mile.

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