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A Growing Texas Town Turns to Uber for Its Public Transportation

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Between 2000 and 2020, the City of Kyle in Texas — located roughly 15 miles south of Austin — grew from just 5,000 residents to over 52,300. With the population forecasted to reach 60,000 by 2024, the city’s public transportation needs have changed drastically in recent years.

Until 2015, Kyle was served by the Capitol Area Rural Transportation Service, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the first and third Fridays of the month. While fares ran between $2 – $4 for riders, it was costing the city around $74,000 annually — and that was after a roughly 40% match from the federal government.

“Our ridership was really low,” says Jerry Hendrix, Chief of Staff for the City of Kyle. “We really only had 12 people in the city who used it once per month.” So, around 2015, the city began exploring other options. The solution? A partnership with Uber.

After six months of collaboration and planning, on October 7 Uber Kyle $3.14 was officially launched. Since Kyle is the Pie Capital of Texas, Kyle carried its branding over to the cost of a one-way Uber Kyle ride: $3.14.

Users get eight one-way rides for $3.14 each month. The city subsidizes up to $10 of additional fare per ride, which pretty much covers any one-way ride in the city limits (but riders are responsible for any overages). After downloading a voucher each month, it’s automatically applied. Users then just open Uber and hail a ride like they normally would. Riders can also request an ADA-compliant ride, which costs the city $40 per ride to cover.

“We’re still just getting started and with the virus going on, people aren’t going to as many places but so far, in just three weeks, we’ve had 168 people who have downloaded the voucher,” Hendrix says. “And that number goes up every day.”

“At Uber Transit, our bread and butter is working with transit agencies… that have a transit gap in services that they’re trying to fill,” says Katie Civgin, a client success manager at Uber Transit who works with the City of Kyle. “We’re starting to see more communities like Kyle that don’t have a public transportation system and are starting to think about how Uber can help.”

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