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Uber Looks to Fill in First- and Last-Mile of Multi-Modal Transportation Equation

The ride-sharing company has partnered with TransLoc to offer a smartphone application that integrates its services with public transit.

Transportation leaders worldwide are talking more and more about “multi-modal” transit, or the ability to get from point A to point B using multiple means of motion. A big problem in the concept, however, has always been the concept of the first and last mile — how does a person get to a bus station, and when they get off the bus, how do they get to their destination?

Uber, the largest of the ride-share companies, is hoping to be the answer to that question. On Monday, Jan. 11, transportation technology company TransLoc announced that it was partnering with Uber to weave the service into a trip-planning smartphone application.

According to a TransLoc press release, the company is using the Uber application programming interface to work the service directly into its own app. When the app launches, a user can enter a destination and receive a trip plan including walking, Uber and transit. The app also provides destination arrival estimates.

“Our mission is to take mass transit from last resort for some, to first choice for all,” TransLoc CEO Doug Kaufman said in the statement. “The partnership with Uber will help advance us toward this goal and make public transit a viable option for everyone, not just people who live within a [quarter] of a mile of a stop.”

The app will debut first in mid-February in Memphis, Tenn., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

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.