U.S. cities that have idled mass transit during coronavirus lockdowns are turning to an unusual partner to get essential workers to hospitals, warehouses and factories: ride-hailing company Uber.
Long criticized by officials in large U.S. cities for siphoning off transit riders and clogging up streets, some less-dense cities with reduced transit ridership are now turning to the Silicon Valley-based company to fill transportation gaps.
A handful of transit agencies are paying Uber and subsidizing rider costs during the pandemic to offer transportation at off-peak hours or in less busy areas.
Some give monthly bus-pass holders a limited number of Uber rides, others cover the entire cost for regular Uber rides to and from essential workplaces.
The model makes sense financially, as cities are able to offload insurance and fuel costs associated with maintaining nearly empty bus routes to Uber