Today’s the day that SEPTA Regional Rail riders no longer have to worry about finding a parking space at 11 of the system’s busiest suburban stations.
That’s because of a pilot partnership between SEPTA and Uber that seeks to find new ways to fill the “last mile” gap between home and the train.
From now through Labor Day, SEPTA patrons can hail an Uber ride share at a 40 percent discount (up to $10) for travel to and from 11 Regional Rail stations. Here’s how to take advantage of this offer:
If you don’t have an Uber account already, you will need to create one; Uber has a signup page set up for would-be participants. Use the promotional code ISEPTAPHILLY when creating your account and you will receive a free credit of up to $15 for your first ride.
After you’ve set up your account, download the free Uber app from Google Play or the Apple App Store.
The discount applies to trips to and from the following 11 Regional Rail stations:
Elkins Park, Melrose Park, Jenkintown and Glenside on the ex-Reading combined main line
Doylestown and Lansdale on the Lansdale/Doylestown Line
Warminster on the Warminster Line
Woodbourne on the West Trenton Line
Swarthmore on the Media/Elwyn Line
Wayne and Exton on the Paoli/Thorndale Line
To receive the discount, your trip must begin or end in the station parking lot. Exact addresses for the stations, which you will need for pickup and drop-off purposes, can be found on SEPTA’s Uber partnership website. The discount applies to all Uber services, including UberX, UberBLACK, UberSUV and UberPOOL.
A recent study from the American Public Transportation Association found that, rather than competing with public transportation, shared-ride services such as Uber and Lyft, car sharing networks like Zipcar and bike-sharing networks like Indego promote public transportation use.
An Uber news release announcing the partnership also noted that ride sharing contributes to reduced car ownership. Citing that same APTA study, the release reported that 20 percent of those who have started using shared transportation said they postponed buying a car, 21 percent sold a car and didn’t replace it, and 18 percent decided not to buy a car at all.
“SEPTA’s partnership with Uber creates exciting new options in our ongoing efforts to provide residents with an efficient and comprehensive transportation network,” SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel said in the release. “We expect this to be a valuable service for our existing customers, and also hopefully a tool to bring new riders into the SEPTA system.”
Uber will provide data on usage and distance traveled to SEPTA on a confidential basis; that data will in turn allow the agency to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program, which is designed both to increase ridership and to relieve pressure on the parking lots at these stations. The stations were chosen because they combine high ridership with limited parking availability. Should the pilot prove successful, SEPTA and Uber may extend the program and even expand it to more stations.
The discount can be used for more than the commute: SEPTA also points out that riders can use Uber to reach popular destinations such as Sesame Place, New Hope and West Chester from Regional Rail or leave their car at home when flying from Philadelphia International Airport.
SEPTA’s Uber partnership website has complete details about the program.
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