Leaders of Atlanta’s public transit authority say they’re launching a partnership with Uber and offering free Wi-Fi to improve service.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority announced this week that the agency is launching wireless Internet on 50 buses on several routes and is also partnering with Uber to offer passengers opportunities to transfer to private vehicles in areas without train or bus service.
Wi-Fi is being offered at no cost to customers or the agency because they’re able to power it with unused bandwidth from 4G surveillance camera systems aboard MARTA buses, MARTA’s Chief Information Officer Ming Hsi told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The system was installed in recent years at a cost of roughly $17.3 million, Hsi said.
MARTA CEO Keith Parker acknowledges that buses and trains can’t get passengers everywhere they need to go, and Uber can help fulfill passengers’ needs.
“There are places that don’t make sense for us to add new bus or train service. This Uber partnership is to take care of that last mile of service,” he said.
Parker said the initiatives are part of MARTA’s efforts in finding ways to retain customers as the price of gasoline fluctuates and driving becomes more attractive for some.
“What we have to do now is be even more creative, innovative and aggressive about holding onto our existing customers while attracting new people,” Parker said. “That’s why you’re seeing everything from Wi-Fi on the buses to mobile phone payments to new, fresh markets.”