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App Unveils New Feature Connecting Ride-Hailing to Transit

Transit, a Canadian startup, is bringing ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft into its app so that users can buy rides to and from public transit stations in the U.S. and around the world.

Transit, a Canadian app-maker that helps people plan trips, is rolling out a new feature that could bring more people to and from public transit stations. 

The new Transit+ feature in the company’s app allows users to find, plan, pay for and book ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft as part of a larger trip. So if a person needs to, for example, get from their house to a train station, they could use Transit+ to book an Uber to the station. Along the way, they can get status updates on the train they’re trying to catch.

The app already included bike-share and scooters as an option as well. And for now, the Transit+ ride-hailing feature is limited to bus and rail services in selected cities, which include more than 30 in the U.S. such as Nashville, Tenn., Boston and Las Vegas.

This was a move the company had already outlined publicly. In November, when the company announced a $17.5 million funding round, its press materials put forward a focus on multi-modal trip planning. Its investors in that round, which included car manufacturers, are interested in positioning themselves for a future full of self-driving vehicles that function much like today’s ride-hailing platforms — only, without humans behind the wheel.

The possibility of connecting ride-hailing, self-driving vehicles and other emerging transportation options to public transit has been a big piece of the mobility conversation in the last several years, since many experts see transit as a way of making urban movement more efficient and less carbon-intensive overall.

Basically, anything to get people out of their cars.

“Our mission at Transit is to make it easy to get from a to b without your own car,” said Jake Sion, Transit’s chief operating officer, in a statement. “By connecting ride-hail seamlessly with transit service, we’re promoting a vital first- and last-mile link to reduce congestion, rather than worsen it.”

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.