Uber + Kyle? City is working with ridesharing company to offer subsidized trips


KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — A new partnership between Uber and the City of Kyle aims to offer residents a low-cost way to get around the city.

On Tuesday night, city council members approved a contract with the ridesharing company to subsidize UberX rides using a city voucher.

Something Madonna Hayes has been looking forward to for years.

“It’s very, very difficult to get around here in the City of Kyle,” she says.

Hayes has called Kyle home for about six years now, but the 64-year-old hasn’t been able to do much exploring.

“Going to the grocery store, Walmart– anywhere I need to go in Kyle,” she says. “Myself and numerous other residents here and people who live in this city who have no transportation, it’s very vital that we get transportation.”

According to the contract, “the City of Kyle will distribute the voucher link to users through its mobile app and other channels as it seems fit.”

“We’ve worked with the city to sign a deal, what we call a vouchers deal, where the city is able to give vouchers to their residents for discounted rides,” says Chris Pangilinan, Uber’s public transportation policy senior manager.

The program will only apply to rides that start and end within city limits. The rider would pay the first $3.14 of their trip, with the city subsidizing up to $10 per trip after that.

There would a cap of eight trips per month, according to the agreement.

“This is a way that without a huge capital investment, given the size of the city, they’re able to provide a public transportation service for their residents that in this case is on demand through Uber,” Pangilinan says.

Pangilinan says public-private partnerships like this one are increasing; Uber made a similar agreement with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit about a year ago and in Marin County, California just last week.

“I was like, ‘Oh, wow!'” Hayes says.

Since receiving the good news from a city council member, Hayes has an idea of where she’ll take her first trip when the program launches next month.

“I’d like to go to the movies. That would be fun,” she says.

City officials say there are still many details to work out, but that they hope to launch the new program on August 10th. They say the idea has been in the works for about a year and a half.

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