Uber Buys Public Transit Software Firm

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
uber buys public transit software firm

On Thursday, Uber Technologies Inc. announced the acquisition of transit software company Routematch — suggesting the ride-hailing giant may soon take up busing as a hobby.

Don’t expect it to supplant your local transit authority overnight, however. Routematch clients tend to be dial-a-ride shuttle services (see: paratransit) seeking to outsource the management of daily operations. The company offers analytics, computer-aided dispatching, route scheduling/planning, real-time vehicle tracking, automated fare collection and applications for customers intended to make finding transport easier. Much like Uber, it operates as the go-between between customers and the services they want.

It doesn’t actually own any of the businesses it effectively oversees, making this a match made in heaven.

“Today, we’re taking a big step forward in making our shared vision a reality. We’re excited to announce that Uber has acquired Routematch, an industry-leading software provider serving more than 500 transit agency partners in urban, suburban, and rural communities around the world,” David Reich, Uber’s head of transit, wrote in a statement with help from Routematch CEO Pepper Harward.

“With over two decades of experience, Routematch has partnered with large and small transit agencies, starting locally in the U.S. and expanding globally. With some of the longest-tenured relationships in the industry, the company is trusted to deliver accessible and inclusive technologies for riders of all abilities. Its mission is creating sustainable mobility ecosystems that leave no person behind.”

The Atlanta-based company already provides services to over 500 transit agencies in North America and Australia — all of which now belong to Uber. Advocates will undoubtedly praise the partnership as a way for the ride-hailing firm to gradually shift toward mass transit while offering affordable or dynamic alternatives to traditional busing. Critics will fault Uber for absorbing yet another company that posed a threat to its current business model.

Either way, the companies claim their ultimate goal is the complete integration of their technologies and staff. Routematch will continue operating semi-independently in the interim period, however.

[Image: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock]

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