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By Eric Lieberman
Uber announced Tuesday it’s offering users information on public transportation services to make it easier to explore other travel options.
“Keeping tabs on upcoming departure times for the train while in an Uber means toggling between apps,” reads an official blog post. “We want to make it easier for riders to combine Uber with public transit, so we’ve integrated with the Transit app on Android in nearly 50 U.S. cities.”
The ride-sharing startup turned tech conglomerate says that the Uber app will now notify users if their destination is a block away from a transit stop, and what the upcoming departure times for that stop are. The new feature can also provide riders complete directions from getting one place to another, even if it doesn’t promote the full employment of Uber.
Potential benefits include reduced traffic and parking, better connected cities, and a viable alternative to personal car ownership, according to Uber.
“Our integration with Uber is a perfect match, as we both envision a future in which every journey is shared using a combination of transit options,” said Jake Sion, Chief Operating Officer of Transit, the Canadian startup partnering with Uber.
The integration of the transit data will be available in major U.S. cities like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, New York City and many others.
While it is currently only available for Android operating systems, it is likely that the feature will be offered for Apple’s iOS in the future.
The incorporation of the Transit app is just one way Uber is exploring new aspects of its services. The transportation company filed a patent in July showing that it is exploring technology that would allow passengers to share rides through the UberPool feature with people who have certain similarities. (RELATED: Is This Anonymous App Helping Fuel An Insurrection At Uber?)
In order to do this, Uber wants to “access social media data” and then “identify common links” between customers, according to the filing.