RTD is encouraged by early ticketing numbers from their partnership with Uber allowing riders to buy transit tickets directly on the ride-sharing app.
A release on Tuesday said more than 1,200 RTD tickets have been sold through the Uber app since the option became available to all users in Denver on June 25 — 15 days ago.
RTD spokeswoman Laurie Huff said the numbers mean people are considering their options when opening the Uber app. Huff said Denver is the only city in the world where someone can use the Uber app to buy local transit tickets and do trip planning, which has been available since January.
The in-app purchasing option was initially launched to a small number of users in May. Ticket sales grew by an average of 42 percent each week during the rollout period, according to the release. As of the week of June 24, about 25 percent of the tickets sold through the app were sold to repeat customers.
“When (people) hear that they (Uber) have a relationship with us, they ask whether we are afraid of losing ridership. We are not,” Huff said. “We don’t see them as competition, but as a complementary option.”
Tuesday’s release said nearly two-thirds of the tickets sold were for local rides, while regional rides were the second most-popular option for in-app purchases (23 percent). Regional rides included trips to and from DIA. Neither RTD or Uber had information related to what time of day tickets were purchased.
Deyanira Zavala, Executive Director at housing and transit equity advocacy group Mile High Connects, said in an email to Denverite that even tech-based solutions like the one between Uber and RTD can leave the most “transit dependent” out of the conversation.
Zavala said Mile High Connects sees this as a chance to “reframe the conversation” around how everyone can better serve the region’s most transit-dependent riders.
“While these early results seem positive, they come at a time when our most dependent riders are still waiting for implementation of the low-income pass program with no firm start date,” Zavala said in an email. “To highlight these results as a win comes at a time when too many folks are feeling their dollar stretched beyond the breaking point — and we must do better for our low-income communities.”
Since the RTD-Uber partnership began in January, the release said, Uber trips in Denver starting or ending at transit stations have grown 11.6 percent.
“Initial numbers show riders are using the Uber platform to plan their commutes from end-to-end, using a variety of transportation options,” Uber Head of Transit David Reich said in the release. “We’re using this data and insights from Denver to inform the Uber Transit experience in London, Boston and other future cities.”
RTD CEO and General Manager Dave Genova said in the release the data “affirms people appreciate choices.”
“Twelve hundred transit tickets sold within the Uber app represents 1,200 decisions actively made to take transit, after considering all options available,” Genova said in the release. “And for travelers who take Uber after seeing that RTD is available to them, being made aware of our services ultimately broadens our reach.”
Both RTD and Uber are expected to increase marketing for the app feature to increase its awareness throughout the metro area.