Private companies want to replace public transport. Should we let them?
Companies like Uber and Citymapper are scrapping for a piece of the mass transit market – with or without the support of public bodies
The sleek black van seemed a lot like a taxi. After summoning it to my location in central London using my smartphone, I walked a short distance to the pick-up point and clambered in. But then, just as I moved to close the door, a stranger climbed in after me.
She introduced herself as Anna. It was Anna’s third time using Smart Ride, the new service from Citymapper, the route planning app that has branched out to offer its own transport services. Smart Ride uses a fleet of minivans that move around the city on a fixed network, matching up passengers based on pick-up points and destinations. Citymapper calls it “a solution for dynamic shared transportation in cities”. Essentially, it’s a cross between a taxi and a bus.
My fear is that Uber will lead to a cycle of cataclysmic disinvestment. They will leave public transport a rump service
I’m not sure everything has to be public transport. It can be something between public and private
Related: Go with the flow: the hypnotic beauty of public transport – mapped
Source: Guardian Transport
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