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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Good Uber: Company Offering Car-Free Incentive to New Parkmerced Residents

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 1:24 PM

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It appears Uber, the convenient villain in the morality play of our lives, has actually done something good. The highly valuable gig economy giant is using its untold heaps of money and network of non-employee drivers to offer new residents of Parkmerced — the planned community of apartment high-rises and townhomes near San Francisco State on the west side — a $100 a month transit subsidy for going car-free.

It can be used for any type of transit sans personal vehicle as long as at least $30 goes back to Uber services like the new carpooling feature Uber Pool. And to make that last part more palatable, Uber plans to create a “geo-fence” — no, not like the awful dome TV show — around Parkmerced to ensure all Uber Pool rides to and from the village to nearby BART or Muni stations are a flat $5.

A rep for Parkmerced, the semi-suburban city within a city, told The Verge that the partnership will help it avoid installing more parking spaces as the development continues to expand. That’s good news for a city whose leaders profess the virtues of mass transit but whose mayor is still living in a 1950s culture of free parking on Sundays
Parkmerced itself - SF PLANNING
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  • Parkmerced itself

And when combined with San Francisco’s employer-mandated commuter benefits, this $100 looks pretty nice.

This marks a first for Uber, which is more known for its cheap rates and ongoing ability to avoid classifying drivers as company employees. In a blog post on its site, Uber said the partnership with Parkmerced is "a building block for a smarter city future and exemplifies the creative ways in which Uber can make it possible for city dwellers to live car-free and connect the transportation network."

There’s no doubt Uber is a great way to get from the transit station to home, which is often referred to as “the last mile.” And since so much development is taking place in San Francisco right now, this is the kind of partnership we’ll probably being seeing a lot more of going forward. What will Lyft do to one-up its main competitor?
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Max DeNike

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