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Uber, Local Transit Agencies Partnership To Look For Improved Transportation

Sarah Ramsey

A ride-hailing company is looking to expand its presence in the area. Uber is launching a partnership with local transit boards to study ways to improve transportation options.

The Cincinnati Mobility Lab will conduct studies and share data with Cincinnati, the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) and the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK).

Pete Metz is transportation policy and coalition manager for the chamber. "Uber knows that cities are a central customer of theirs. They can work well with cities to help solve key challenges. They want to work with Cincinnati to be a testing ground for how they can better integrate their services with the services that currently exist today."

Uber already works with Metro on a partnership. Metz says the mobility lab would be "bigger than that. It would be about how do we operate a public transit system in the Cincinnati region where we also have ride-sharing applications and how do we integrate those services in an even more meaningful way to connect people in a way that they're not connected today."

Metz says the information Uber collects will be shared with Metro and TANK so they can improve their service lines. "It is incredible to have the transit authorities on both sides of the river working together with this partner because, ultimately, people need to get around and they need to get around regardless of what system they're using."

Some local officials, including the Hamilton County commission president, have called for a regional transit plan. Metz says this will be separate from those efforts. He says including OKI and the chamber means the entire region will be included in the study and the results, and not just Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

"This is a multi-year partnership and so there will be opportunities to bring new challenges to the table and say 'how can we work with this new partner we have to solve them.' Those results will be ongoing," Metz says.

The CEO of OKI says that organization is eager to work with Uber Movement. Mark Policinski says "Our initial collaboration with Uber Movement has yielded vast potential in solving regional problems."

The partnership will include an employer forum through the chamber which will work on commuting issues, and improve connections between businesses and employees. There will also be a mobility summit to showcase local innovations and find other transit solutions.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.