The NSW Government is considering a proposal by Uber to offer cheaper fares for passengers going to train stations or bus stops, in an attempt to help those who live far from public transport.
Uber’s submission to the NSW Commuter Car Parking Inquiry argued this approach would be more cost-effective than the government installing new public transport services or car parks at existing stations.
“Uber is being used to fill in the gaps of existing public transport … ridesharing complements public transport,” the proposal said. “By the time large transport infrastructure projects are completed, passenger demand will immediately overwhelm the service supply.”
The Uber submission went on to say 60 per cent of trips in Australia using the company’s app began in “public transport deserts”. And the government wants to address the issue.
A NSW Transport spokesperson told AAP that rideshare services have a “potentially significant role to play” in helping commuters in Sydney.
Uber stated that Newtown, Strathfield, Mascot, Bondi Junction and Parramatta are the busiest drop-off zones outside of CBD stations. Hurstville, Chatswood, Eastwood, Burwood and Blacktown are also on the list.
Uber's inquiry also revealed almost 66 per cent (1.2 million people) of Australians commute to work by car and 10 per cent (410,000 people) commute by public transport. Of these, 20 per cent require a car or alternative mode of transport to get to a public transport hub.
Sydney isn’t the first city considering this new transport model. The Canadian town of Innisfil in Ontario has been trialing the concept for six months.
Uber also launched a pilot program in New Jersey in 2016, which allowed the government to save money it was planning to spend on a new $10 million car park.
Uber is also looking at integrating its own Opal card system that would “enable commuters to seamlessly transition between modes of transport on their daily commute.”
The government also recently announced eight pilot trials of on-demand bus services (operated by private companies) to help drop off passengers at train stations in areas including Bankstown, Edmondson Park, Manly, the Northern Beaches, Sutherland Shire, Eastern Suburbs, Wetherill Park, Greystanes and Central Coast.