Summit, New Jersey

Uber and Lyft have been in the news a lot lately for the huge change they could potentially make to the transportation system over time. Many people are opting for Uber or Lyft rather than public transit. Some people are using Uber or Lyft to get their kids to school. Now, the city of Summit, New Jersey, a bedroom community to New York City, will begin subsidizing Uber rides for residents traveling to and from the local train station.

According to BuzzFeedNews, the move was initiated to avoid building a new parking lot for the station. Parking near Summit’s train station has been called a “nightmare” by many users. Commuters buy parking permits, but are not assigned spaces, and often waste 15 to 20 minutes searching for a spot. Building a new parking lot for commuter users would be a long-term, multimillion-dollar endeavor, so the city’s administrator instead decided to subsidize commuters’ Uber rides to the town’s train station. Priced at $2 each way, the rides will cost commuters the same as an all-day parking pass. Not only will this reduce demand for hard-to-come-by parking spaces, it will also create a steady pool of demand for Uber.

Uber was interested and agreed to a six-month pilot program. Over the long run, if the program becomes permanent, it is expected to cost Summit only about $167,000 annually, much less than the $10 million it would cost to build a parking lot, which doesn’t even count costs to staff and maintain it.

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