By Luke Marklin, General Manager for Uber in Atlanta
Last week, we celebrated the passage of a landmark bill in the Georgia Legislature that would extend the reach of MARTA’s infrastructure, increasing mobility for more of our communities across the Atlanta metro area.
At Uber, we share MARTA’s goal of getting more people to their destinations safely and efficiently. We share their vision of an Atlanta that is less congested, has lower emissions, and is less dependent on cars. And just like MARTA, our Uber Atlanta team is dedicated to finding the best ways to serve communities all across this city we’re all proud to call home. So it’s only natural that we should work together.
Our partnership with MARTA began organically with our riders. We found that in communities across the metro area, Atlantans were already using Uber to bridge the first-mile, last-mile gaps that exist in any public transportation system. Last year, MARTA and Uber formalized and accelerated that progress with a first-of-its-kind collaboration. And today, cities across the nation are taking MARTA’s lead, recognizing the complementary role ridesharing can play in their own transportation systems.
In fact, just this month the American Public Transportation Association released a report that supports the very idea behind the pioneering MARTA, Uber partnership.
MARTA + Uber = More Access, with Complimentary Transportation Options
APTA’s analysis found that the more people use services like Uber, the more likely they are to use public transportation. These commuters are using Uber as a supplement, not a substitute for public transportation. And access to options like Uber extend the reach of mass transit to communities that are often underserved by other transportation options. We see that clearly here in Atlanta, with rides from the West and Southwest of the city increasing a full ten percent faster than in the rest of Atlanta.
This is an experience Edith – one of our top partners here in Atlanta – sees almost every day. A mother and grandmother living in Southwest Atlanta, Edith frequently provides safe, affordable rides for her neighbors throughout Sandtown and nearby Ben Hill to the Hamilton E. Holmes or other MARTA stations, where they continue their workday commute Downtown.
Our partnership with MARTA can help accelerate that progress. In the month following our joint announcement, Uber rides starting at stations south of I-20 such as East Point, Oakland City, Lakewood, College Park and West End rose by an average of 137 percent compared to the month prior. With expanded infrastructure, MARTA will soon increase mobility in more communities, and Uber partners like Edith will continue to extend that reach even further.
A Shared Vision of Less Congestion and Reduced Emissions in Atlanta
The Atlanta metro area has one of the biggest traffic challenges in the nation. According to recent studies, commuters cumulatively wasted nearly 15 million hours and more than 57 million gallons of gas as a result of congestion. On average, this delay cost more than $1,100 per commuter, or $3.2 billion collectively. And according to the American Highway Users Association, the I-75/I-85 merge is one of the 30 worst bottlenecks in the country. Drivers waste more than 1.2 million hours per year on this stretch of road alone.
To help address this massive challenge, we launched uberPOOL last fall – putting more people in fewer cars to begin alleviating congestion to and from the airport and across Atlanta. Today, business travelers, tourists, and residents going to or coming from Hartsfield-Jackson make up well over 15 percent of all shared uberPOOL trips, doing their small part to help reduce traffic along the Downtown Connector. But alongside MARTA, and with its expanded reach, we can do much more to help decrease congestion and reduce emissions throughout the city.
By picking up where MARTA drops off, Uber makes it easier to give up owning a car altogether. APTA’s report confirms that people who use ridesharing are more likely to forgo car ownership because it’s more affordable and just as reliable to use a combination of Uber and mass transit.
Working Together Toward a Better Connected, More Efficient Atlanta
We are proud to partner with MARTA to bring more mobility to everyone in the city we all call home, and we want to thank the Georgia Legislature for passing the MARTA expansion bill. It is good public policy, and it’s the right thing to do.
With the support of the City, the Legislature, and together with our MARTA partners, we look forward to creating a more connected, more efficient, and less congested future for Atlanta.