Uber has revealed it will buy Routematch, a firm based in Atlanta that is designing applications for public transit companies. The news arrives in the middle of a wider drive into public transport by the ride-hail service.
Uber has not disclosed the terms of the contract. Routematch, which was formed in 2000, provides data collection, alert, trip scheduling, and ticketing applications to public transit agencies. Uber said the deal would help boost its attempts to incorporate more public transit systems into its software, such as route planning and buying tickets.
The news comes on the heels of Uber’s announcement that it will start supplying the tech that drives its ride-hailing service to transit authorities, with California’s Marin County transportation authority as the first client. But the deal started small and powered logistics for just four wheelchair-accessible vans. The purchase of Routematch, which has agreements with over 500 public transit companies, for Uber’s software-as-as-service platform is targeted towards seeking new clients and new revenue streams.
Routematch has had considerable success in trying to boost bus coverage for small rural areas. The organization teamed up with the town of Bad Axe, Michigan last year to offer on-demand, Uber-like free bus service to hundreds of Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria who had moved to the city for jobs. Routematch also supports authorities in Cecil County, Maryland, with providing affordable, on-demand bus service to ride to and from treatment sessions for individuals with opioid addictions.
Over the years Uber has been accused of interfering aggressively with and stealing subway, rail, and bus passengers. Declining bus and train travel has been tied to the growth of app-based ride-hailing in hundreds of cities across the United States. Recently, Uber has added transit directions and ticketing to its app in some cities, hoping it can blunt that criticism by giving transit equal footing in its app.
Uber announced last year that it would start selling train and bus tickets through its Denver, Colorado, app for customers. The business has since incorporated plans and instructions for public transit into its software for more than a dozen other cities. More than a year later Uber says that Uber Transit has been used by “over 2 million users.”
Uber has recently unveiled plans for $2.65 billion to buy Postmates retail and meal delivery company. As the pandemic continues to pummel its main transportation market, the corporation is struggling to increase its revenue generation options.