Uber Acquires Software Company Routematch in its Push to Support City Public Transit Services
After one year as a public company, ride-sharing company Uber Technologies Inc is looking for a path towards long-term profitability. As the coronavirus pandemic has decimated Uber's core ride-hailing business, one bright spot is that the company experienced huge growth in its Uber Eats food delivery business, which led to Uber's acquisition of delivery company Postmates for $2.65 billion earlier this month.
Now Uber is looking to extend its reach further into the public transit sector. The company announced today that it has acquired Routematch, a software provider that serves more than 500 transit agency partners in communities around the world.
The acquisition of Routematch will help Uber to better work with cities transportation agencies to help them move away from fixed routes for their public transportation services to a more dynamic system based on real-time demand.
Uber's strength is in its route planning expertise and detailed data of how people move around cities throughout the day. Utilizing this data can help cities improve their mass transit offerings, which can also help to reduce traffic.
In addition to helping cities to better manage their transportation networks, including payment processing, Uber's acquisition of Routematch will give residents more convenient ways to book fares via Uber's platform. It is all part of Uber's plan to become an essential service provider that people will rely on everyday to get around, whether it's a bus, train, car or electric scooter or bike.
Uber's push to offer public transportation options directly from its app is part of the company's long-term vision to make personal car ownership obsolete by offering much more convenient and less expensive last-mile transportation solutions powered by technology.
Uber has been partnering with public transportation agencies since 2015, helping to make their public transportation offerings more efficient by using Uber's vast trove of data and route planning expertise.
Atlanta-based Routematch has partnered with both large and small transit agencies, starting locally in the U.S. and expanding globally. The company's goal is to create sustainable mobility ecosystems for cities around the world.
This acquisition will combine Uber's expertise in on-demand transportation with Routematch's solutions for paratransit, cashless payments, fixed-route tools, and trip planning services, Uber said.
Both companies believe that it will make it easier for transportation agencies to provide better transportation solutions to riders, through the expanded use of data-driven technologies.
"Public transportation will always be a vital artery that connects people to their cities and towns. But as many have told us, there are many challenges that simply did not exist when fixed route services and systems were created decades ago. We believe that inclusive transportation software can help transit agencies deliver more value for riders, businesses, and communities," Uber wrote in a 2019 blog post.
Over the last several years, Uber has entered into partnerships with other public transportation agencies around the world, including a partnership with the The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to provide paratransit service in Boston.
Uber is also working with the city of Nice, France, to provide late-night connecting service to rail lines right from the Uber app.
In January 2019, Uber announced a partnership with the city of Denver, Colorado, which was its first integration with public transit. In partnership with the Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD), Uber riders in the city can plan their trips using real-time information and end-to-end directions that are available right in the Uber app.
Once a rider in Denver enters their destination in the Uber app, a "Transit" option appears next to other available transportation options. Once selected, they can view available Denver public transit routes that will get them to their destination. Also included in the Uber app are schedules that include real-time departure and arrival times. Uber even provides walking directions to and from the transit stations right in the app.
On July 1, Uber began a pilot program with Marin Transit and the Transportation Authority of Marin, County, just north of San Francisco. The agency is paying Uber a flat monthly subscription fee for access to the software that powers Uber's ride-hailing platform.
The acquisition of Routematch is another step towards Uber's goal of becoming an entire ecosystem of transportation services. One day, riders will be able to get to anywhere they need to go in cities all over the world with just the Uber app.
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