Over the past few months, Uber has been rapidly shedding cash-burning business units, like Elevate and self-driving cars. It’s part of a larger trend of consolidation since CEO Dara Khosrowshahi took over. However, one less-flashy segment has been booming: Uber Transit. In this episode, I’ll talk with David Zipper on Uber Transit, how it fits into the Uber picture, and a new report from the Uber Transit team. 

    Also, take a look at the Smarter Cars podcast! Michele Kyrouz releases her podcast in seasons, giving her audience something to look forward to. Her new season just premiered in January, and I really enjoyed the episode with Carl Vernesson from Voi. Find all the links to Smarter Cars below in our Show Notes.

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    Intro to David Zipper

    • 3-time RSG podcast guest!
    • David Zipper’s perspective on cities and urban mobility is rooted in his experience in city hall, venture capitalism, policy research and more
    • He advises numerous startups, mayors and transit agencies
    • His writing has been published in The Atlantic, Slate, Newsweek and more
    • He focuses on the relationship between transit and ride hail services

    Rideshare and Uber’s Transit Products

    • Since rideshare came out, has shown a negative impact on transit
    • A source of growing controversy among transit agencies
    • 3 business products Uber Transit uses: Uber Rides for Transit, Uber Transit Software Solutions, Uber Maas Solutions

    Uber Rides for Transit, Software

    • Uber offers point to point trips, argues transit services can save money instead of running bus service for fewer people
    • Problem with convenience – leads to induced demand
    • Concern is when transit agencies think providing subsidized trips in a suburban area is better than bus service
    • Makes sense for certain subsidized rides, however – paratransit, for example

    Uber Maas Solutions

    • Better than using a variety of city transit apps?
    • First mile/last mile – it’s not working (only in limited circumstances)
    • Skeptical – what do transit agencies really gain? What data will transit agencies receive?
    • Some modes will never be available through the app (bikeshare, for example)

    What is the Main Goal of Transit Agencies?: Future of Transit

    • Biggest problem right now: getting people to take transit after COVID!
    • As people return to travel, decisions may look different from pre-2020
    • Encourage transit agencies to be more like Starbucks – negotiate carefully
    • Not convinced this is actually happening – do they know they can negotiate?


    • Thanks to David for coming on the podcast and the lively discussion
    • David’s perspective is key – he’s passionate about what’s best for cities, transit but recognizes companies do offer some solutions that help
    • Curious to see the MaaS solution going forward

    Show Notes


    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.