UPSTATE

TRANSIT
LANDSCAPE
AND THE
NEED FOR
RIDESHARING

1
UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
Overview
Too many cities in Upstate New
York are filled with transit deserts.
For millions of hardworking New Yorkers, the day begins and ends with long walks
to buses that are often crowded and unreliable. There is no question that Upstate
residents deserve better transportation options to get to and from work and
home. But access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation options is no-
where to be found.

Transportation deficiencies are holding back communities in Albany, Buffalo,
Rochester, and Syracuse from realizing their full economic potential. It comes as
no surprise, that while these cities are struggling to meet the challenges of a more
comprehensive transit system, they are also among the largest metropolitan areas
in the country that do not have access to ridesharing services like Uber.

While ridesharing is not new, potential partnerships with these cities can gener-
ate long elusive transportation solutions – shaping how Upstate New York thinks
about and implements transit options in the future.

This report details the shortcomings of these cities’ current
transportation systems and how ridesharing can help fill the gaps to build
stronger communities through more reliable and robust transit options.

One thing is clear:
the current transit infrastructure in four
of New York State’s largest cities is insuf-
ficient to meet the social and economic
demands of today’s economy, much
less the economy we need to build for
a more prosperous future for Upstate
New York. Since Uber has proven to be
a partner for many other cities in this
effort nationwide, this report further
highlights why it’s long overdue that our
state add ridesharing to the mix of tran-
sit options for Upstate residents.

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UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
Albany
New York’s capital city is experiencing an The new downtown Albany will be poorly served by
its current public transit system, which is operat-
economic development revitalization that’s
ed by the Capital District Transit Authority (CDTA)
rapidly transforming downtown Albany into whose routes are limited and typically operate spo-
a key destination for work and play. radically after 8pm. The young professionals Albany
hopes to attract to its new downtown residential
However, Albany’s public transit system and taxi op- developments, many of whom are increasingly
tions are insufficient to serve the influx of new resi- eschewing car ownership, will require 24/7 transit
dents and workers in the downtown area. Addition- alternatives.
ally, the existing population of government workers
and residents in the city’s suburbs are poorly served The same can be said for the influx of elected offi-
by transit options that operate sporadically or are cials and their staff during the legislative session,
not cost effective. many of whom have relied on the city’s infamous
taxi services whose inconsistent and expensive fares
The following brief highlights the need for innova- and consistent mismanagement led Governor An-
tive transit alternatives such as ridesharing, and the drew Cuomo to sign a 2016 law placing the city’s taxi
benefits these alternatives could bring to the city of regulation in the hands of the CDTA.
Albany.
Outside of the city center, Albany includes 21 square
miles of suburban neighborhoods. CDTA service
Transit Landscape generally only runs between 7am and 7pm on week-
days, leaving many commuters with few options for
In addition to the current bustle of government transit if they are working late. According to Ameri-
workers, including New York’s elected officials can Community Survey (ACS) data from 2014, 14.4%
during the legislative season, Albany’s downtown is of Albany workers did not have a vehicle available
currently benefitting from numerous economic de- to transport them to work. 48.1% of these workers
velopment projects and an influx of new businesses. took public transit, while 24.6% walked and 4.1%
This includes the revitalization of the Corning River- took a taxicab, motorcycle, bicycle, or other means.
front, business amenities like the new Capital Center Additionally there are currently more than 20,000
conference facility, numerous new world-class din- low-income families in the Capital Region (Albany,
ing options, the restoration of Proctors Theater, and Schenectady, and Troy) that do not own cars.
a burgeoning tech scene at the SCiTI and StartUp NY Many of these Albany neighborhoods are transit
innovation hubs. deserts due to bus routes that require commuters
Capitalize Albany, the city’s economic development to walk numerous blocks to access transit. Using
agency, is also aggressively trumpeting the avail- publicly available GTFS data from CDTA, corroborat-
ability of residential units in up and coming areas ed by granular population data from the 2010 U.S.
of downtown Albany, like the Warehouse District, Census, we identified examples of Albany popula-
where there will be 3,000 available residential units tions underserved by public transit.
within the next ten years.

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UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
One of the neighborhoods with sparse public tran-
sit options is Dunes, near the Crossgates Mall.
The Census Block containing Dunes has a
population of 2,227.

Please note for all of the maps in the following report, each public transport stop is represented by
a small colored dot.

Many of the bus routes setting out from The exceptions are Route 12 (which
Crossgates Mall, or another point near operates frequently, but is on hiatus
Dunes, and going to downtown Albany between 9 AM and 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM
only operate a few times each day, with and 5:00 PM, and 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM
a few departures in the morning and a every weekday)2 and Route 114, which
few in the late afternoon/evening.1 This only runs once per hour.3 However,
leaves swaths of midday and the late these routes run from Crossgates Mall,
evening where the area is not served by which is almost an hour-long walk from
buses to downtown. some parts of Dunes.

1 These routes include #719 (http://www.cdta.org/sites/default/files/source_files/Route719.pdf), #763 (http://www.cdta.org/sites/default/
files/source_files/Route763.pdf), & #801 (http://www.cdta.org/sites/default/files/source_files/Route801.pdf)
2 http://www.cdta.org/sites/default/files/source_files/Route12.pdf
3 http://www.cdta.org/sites/default/files/source_files/Route114.pdf

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UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
The residential neighborhood south of Western Avenue and west of NY-85 is comprised of Census
Block Groups with a total population of 3,816. This area, like Dunes, has sparse public transit options:

Along Western Avenue run the #763 and #10 buses.
The #763 only has three departures to downtown
The Added Value of
Albany in the morning and three in the early after-
noon.4 The #10 runs frequently, but takes a three-
Uber in Albany
hour hiatus between 1 PM and 4 PM on weekdays.5 To keep Albany a growing and vibrant city, Albany
Furthermore, some parts of this neighborhood are needs to improve its transit landscape by providing
more than a 15-minute walk away from the #10 at more transportation options. The cab system is par-
Western Avenue. The #734 runs along Krumkill Road ticularly deficient, which is most evident at the drop-
in the southern portion of this neighborhood, but off/pick up location at Albany’s Amtrak train station.
only makes four downtown-bound departures each Uber has the on-demand capabilities and manpower
day.6 required to make the transit options better at Am-
trak’s Albany-Rensselaer station.
Additional strains are placed on commuters in
Albany, where winters and summers can be severe. Like the company successfully did in Summit, NJ7,
Albany experiences an average of 60 inches of snow Uber could partner with the city to provide free or
in the winter months. And the city often experiences discounted rides for local commuters to the train
waves of heat and humidity in summer months that station. This ridesharing commuter program greatly
push temperatures above 90 degrees. reduced congestion in parking lots and eliminated
the need for building additional parking structures
in that city. If implemented here in Albany, it could
save Albany residents millions in potential taxpayer
dollars.

4 http://www.cdta.org/sites/default/files/source_files/Route763.pdf
5 http://www.cdta.org/sites/default/files/source_files/Route10.pdf
6 http://www.cdta.org/sites/default/files/source_files/Route734.pdf
7 https://newsroom.uber.com/us-new-jersey/working-together-for-a-better-summit/
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UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
At the Amtrak station, finding a cab or a parking
space is almost impossible. As an alternative trans-
While ridesharing is not
portation option, through a partnership with a city, new, the potential partner-
Uber could provide discounted uberX rides to and
from the Amtrak station – reducing the number of ship and commuter pro-
commuter cars left in the parking lot and providing
an easy option for local commuters.
gram could use ridesharing
Exploring alternative methods of getting residents technology as a transpor-
to and from the train station without having to park
is a great way to keep Albany thriving while reducing
tation solution – shaping
costs. how Albany thinks about,
and implements, tran-
sit options at the Amtrak
station in the future.

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UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
Buffalo
Buffalo is undergoing unprecedented Additionally, new job-creating projects include the
growth, with over $5.5 billion in new eco- Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at
RiverBend and the SolarCity Gigafactory. To accom-
nomic activity underway, the vast majority
modate this burgeoning workforce, Buffalo has seen
of which is occurring in its up and coming the development of over 1,200 residential units in its
downtown. downtown over the past ten years, with 2,000 more
units on the way by 2018.
The second largest city in the state is also host to
one of New York’s largest universities and is home Residents of new downtown Buffalo will be poorly
to two professional sports teams; the Buffalo Bills of served by its current public transit system, which is
the National Football League and the Buffalo Sabres operated by the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority
of the National Hockey League. That said, Buffa- (NFTA) whose routes are limited and typically oper-
lo’s residents are underserved by the city’s transit ate sporadically after 8pm. The young professionals
options. While the city’s public transit system is one Buffalo hopes to attract to its revitalized downtown,
of the better systems in Upstate New York, there re- many of whom are increasingly eschewing car own-
main large areas of Buffalo that are transit deserts, ership, will require 24/7 transit alternatives.
and the city is currently the only NFL market where
Outside of the city’s downtown district, many of
residents cannot take advantage of ridesharing ser-
Buffalo’s residents live in suburbs spread out over
vices such as Uber.
52 square miles. According to American Commu-
The following brief highlights the need for innova- nity Survey (ACS) data from 2014, 13.9% of Buffalo
tive transit alternatives such as ridesharing and the workers did not have a vehicle available to transport
benefits that these alternatives could bring to the them to work. 48.2% of these workers took public
city of Buffalo. transit, while 19.2% walked and 5.7% took a taxicab,
motorcycle, bicycle, or other means. Additionally
there are currently more than 38,000 low-income
families in Buffalo and Niagara Falls that do not own
Transit Landscape cars.

Buffalo is currently experiencing a transformational Many of these Buffalo neighborhoods are transit
period of economic development that has seen its deserts due to bus routes that require commuters
workforce increase from 87,000 to over 99,000 work- to walk multiple city blocks to access transit. Using
ers over the last three years.8 publicly available GTFS data from NFTA, corroborat-
ed by granular population data from the 2010 U.S.
The key catalyst to Buffalo’s resurgence is its Buffalo Census, we identified examples of Buffalo popula-
Niagara Medical Campus, which is one of the five tions underserved by public transit.
Strategic Investment Areas of the overall Queen City
Hub economic development plan in Buffalo. Another
Strategic Investment Area is the Erie Canal Harbor
and Waterfront District, including the Canalside his-
toric redevelopment district.

8 http://www.buffalourbandevelopment.com/documents/Downtown/2016_Downtown_Buffalo_Development_Guide.pdf
7
UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
There are two neighborhoods – South Buffalo and Broadway-Fillmore – that lack sufficient public
transit options, in partciular. Below is a map displaying bus stops in Broadway-Fillmore:

The Census Block Groups bounded by Sycamore example, 83 Hilton Street (adjacent to the Buffalo
Street to the north, William Street to the south, Bai- Central Terminal) to the nearest bus stop on Broad-
ley Avenue to the east, and Fillmore Avenue to west way is approximately 8 minutes. After 8 PM on
have a combined population of 8,194. weekdays, bus service on the #4 along Broadway is
sporadic, with buses timed one hour apart.9 Like-
For residents living between Broadway and William
wise, bus service from Downtown on the #1 along
Street, near the Buffalo Central terminal, the closest
William Street can also be as far apart as an hour on
bus lines to and from downtown would be the #4
weekdays.10 The same holds for bus service on the
along Broadway and the #1 along William Street.
#6 along Sycamore Street.11
The walking distance from a house located at, for

9. http://metro.nfta.com/Routes/pdfs/4.pdf
10. http://metro.nfta.com/Routes/pdfs/1.pdf
11. http://metro.nfta.com/Routes/pdfs/6.pdf

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UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
The situation is perhaps even more exacerbated in the relatively suburban neighborhoods
of South Buffalo:

The combined population of Census Block Groups Lastly, Buffalo transit limitations fail to provide a
south of Abbot Road and along the two main bus critical safety net for a large population of working
routes pictured above is 20,201 (of the three that families and college students. Erie County experi-
appear to fork out, above, only the two outer ones ences approximately 16.2 DWI deaths per year.14
are actual bus routes). These two routes are the #16 And in an effort to curb DWI arrests, Buffalo is now
along South Park Avenue and the #14 along Abbot participating in the “Drink and Drive, Lose your Ride”
Road. After 6 PM on weekdays, the #14 buses are campaign that confiscates the vehicles of individuals
spaced an hour apart, and as much as an hour and who experience their second DWI arrest.15 Alterna-
a half apart on weekends.12 The same is true for the tive transit solutions offering late night rides would
#16 after 7 PM on weekdays and on weekends.13 certainly be one solution to this problem, curbing
DWI fatalities and eliminating the threat of individu-
Additional strains are placed on commuters in these
als losing their vehicles.
neighborhoods during the winter months, when
average temperatures plummet to 18.5 degrees in
January and the city records an average monthly
snowfall of 21 inches, with an average of 13 snowy
days per winter month.

12. http://metro.nfta.com/Routes/pdfs/14.pdf
13. http://metro.nfta.com/Routes/pdfs/16.pdf
14. http://www.syracuse.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/06/new_york_state_dwi_deaths_by_county_who_has_the_most_fatalities.html
15. http://www.twcnews.com/nys/buffalo/news/2016/08/29/drink-and-drive--lose-your-ride-campaign.html

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UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
The Added Value of If a program like this one were to
come to Buffalo, residents who are
Uber in Buffalo currently underserved by Buffalo’s
Given the recent flurry of economic development
transit options would have better ac-
and influx of thousands of new Buffalo workers,
transit deserts could prove extremely costly for the cess to and from their jobs. With the
continued prosperity of Buffalo. Buffalo has seen
significant job-creation some of Buf-
a building boom that has led to an unprecedent-
ed growth in its workforce with construction and falo’s great projects are bringing to
permanent new jobs, yet the public transit system is the city, we must ensure our transit
extremely limited and insufficient for sustaining this
new group of commuters. Uber has the potential to options work for all residents, provid-
have a great impact on Buffalo’s transit landscape, ing safe and reliable means for com-
surmounting transit barriers with technology and
muting to and from their jobs. Uber’s
innovation to step in where public transportation
has failed ridesharing platform, and on-demand
One example of an innovative program Uber technology could bring Buffalo into
launched in St. Petersburg, Florida, was called the the future of transportation.
TD Late Shift program16, which offered free trans-
portation to disadvantaged residents in a Florida
county when regular bus service ended at night.
These residents were able to receive free, on-de-
mand rides to and from a place of employment or
residence only. This grant-funded program was able
to help residents overcome transportation barriers
to employment.

16. http://www.psta.net/press/07-2016/index.php
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UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
Rochester
Over the past ten years, Rochester has Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $40 million in
seen businesses coming back to its down- funding for this $64 million upgrade project, which
has an aggressive timeline of two years for comple-
town area. And while downtown Rochester
tion. RTS currently only offers one bus line to the
is currently home to over 50,000 workers airport, the 6/6X Jefferson.
employed by its burgeoning business en- During nights and weekends, this bus runs only
vironment, only 3,000 of the city’s 210,000 once per hour and it does not drop passengers off
residents live downtown, meaning a large at the airport terminal, instead dropping them off
outside of the airport and requiring them to walk
amount of workers face long commutes to onto the airport grounds.
and from work.
According to American Community Survey (ACS)
Unfortunately, Rochester’s public transit system is data from 2014, 11.7% of Rochester workers did not
strained and does not have the funding to address have a vehicle available to transport them to work.
critical needs, such as increasing service so that the 39.3% of these workers took public transit, while
city’s working women and men who rely on public 14.6% walked and 4.4% took a taxicab, motorcy-
transportation can have easier and more affordable cle, bicycle, or other means. Additionally there are
commutes. currently more than 20,000 low-income families in
Rochester that do not own cars.
The following brief highlights the need for innova-
tive transit alternatives such as ridesharing and the Many of Rochester’s neighborhoods are transit
benefits these alternatives could bring to the city of deserts due to bus routes that require commuters
Rochester. to walk great distances to access transit. Using pub-
licly available GTFS data from RTS, corroborated by
granular population data from the 2010 U.S. Census,
Transit Landscape we identified examples of Rochester populations
underserved by public transit.
Rochester features a workforce that is highly depen-
dent on owning vehicles. Although nearly ninety per-
cent of Rochester’s working women and men own
vehicles, there remains a large population of work-
ers who are currently underserved by the region’s
public transit system.

Rochester’s public transit is operated by the Roch-
ester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority
(RGRTA) via its Regional Transit Service (RTS) subsid-
iary, whose routes are limited and typically operate
infrequently on nights and weekends. Many working
Rochesterians also face long walks to bus stops,
which can be incredibly treacherous during winter
months, when snow and frigid temperatures occur.

One of the key new economic development projects
in Rochester is the revitalization of the Greater Roch-
ester International Airport.

11
UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
Rochester’s 19th Ward and Charlotte neighborhoods both appear to be particularly
underserved by bus service.

As the above map shows, a large portion of Roches- Another bus route, the “4/4X Genesee” routepasses
ter’s 19th Ward is bound by a single bus route, which by the eastern side of the square, but its stops are
wraps it in a squared shape (except on the east side). spaced an hour apart after 7 PM on weekdays, and
The Census Block Groups within this square have a an hour apart on weekends.18 The same holds for
combined population of 8,161. This is the “25/25X the “6/6X Jefferson”19 and “19 Plymouth”20 routes,
Thurston/MCC” route, and its stops on weekday which pass by the southeas tern corner of the
afternoons can be spaced almost 45 minutes apart. square.
Of concern is that this route does not operate past
Charlotte, a neighborhood on the northern end of
8 PM either. On weekends, service can be spaced as
Rochester, is also sparsely covered by public transit:
far apart as one and a half hours.17

17 http://www.myrts.com/Portals/0/Schedules/Sept%202016/43002_RTS_25_Thurston_MCC.pdf
18 http://www.myrts.com/Portals/0/Schedules/Sept%202016/43002_RTS_04_Genesee.pdf
19 http://www.myrts.com/Portals/0/Schedules/Sept%202016/43002_RTS_06_Jefferson.pdf
20 http://www.myrts.com/Portals/0/Schedules/Sept%202016/43002_RTS_19_SPlymouth.pdf 12
UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
The Census Block Groups contained in what could
broadly be considered the Charlotte neighborhood
The Added Value of
have a total population of 8,491. The main bus route
in Charlotte is the “1/1X Lake” along Lake Avenue.
Uber in Rochester
On weekdays, service is spaced and hour and fifteen Uber has the potential to fill the void in Rochester’s
minutes apart after 8 PM, and up to an hour apart transit deserts. In neighborhoods, like the 19th Ward
on weekends.21 that’s bound by a single bus route, RTS and Uber
create a “first mile, last mile” partnership, which has
Transportation costs and better transportation op- been done in other cities, that increases transporta-
tions have been cited as a necessary improvement tion access and ridership across the region.
for retaining talent from Rochester’s colleges and
universities. The arduous process of taking public This is especially valuable for working Rochesterians
transportation has also been described as a top who are subjected to arduous walks to and from bus
challenge for the growing refugee community when stops during the winter months.
assimilating and building new lives in Rochester. In A similar partnership has already been enacted with
a 2016 interview with the Rochester Democrat and Tampa Bay’s Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
Chronicle, the Aziz family, refugees relocated from (PSTA)24. Just like Rochester, Tampa Bay’s PSTA strug-
Syria, said their first year in Rochester was the most gled with a lack of connecting bus routes, but Uber
difficult of their lives. became that connecting force for them. Riders are
In an interview, they cite the hours-long affair of able to use Uber, at a discounted cost thanks to PS-
getting around on public transportation as a top TA’s contribution, to travel within specific geographic
challenge in adapting to their new city. To go to zones to or from a series of designated stops.
the market or their English classes would require
multiple buses. “We were hoping to go to school
This would not only make commuting
for English as quickly as possible,” Bahzat Aziz said. easier for Rochester residents, but it
“(But) we learn about 10 words, then because it’s so would improve ridership among RTS.
tiring with the buses, we just forget.”22 Once it is easier for a commuter to
Lastly, Rochester’s transit limitations fail to provide get to and from the bus stop, the bus
a critical safety net for a large population of working becomes the main mode of transpor-
families and college students. Monroe County ex- tation, which could help pull RTS out
periences approximately 14 DWI deaths per year.23
Alternative transit solutions offering late night rides
of its financial strain with increased
would certainly be one solution to this problem. ridership.

21 http://www.myrts.com/Portals/0/Schedules/Sept%202016/43002_RTS_01_Lake.pdf
22 http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2016/08/19/syrian-refugees-rochester-aziz/88566656/
23 http://www.syracuse.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/06/new_york_state_dwi_deaths_by_county_who_has_the_most_fatalities.html
24 https://newsroom.uber.com/us-florida/uber-announces-partnership-to-increase-transportation-access-in-tampa-bay/
13
UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
Syracuse
Syracuse is a dynamic city that features one whose routes are limited and typically operate spo-
of New York’s largest universities and a bur- radically after 8pm.

geoning downtown community. The young professionals Syracuse hopes to attract
to its revitalized downtown, many of whom are
However, it is poorly served by a public transit
increasingly eschewing car ownership, will require
system whose buses operate sporadically at night
24/7 transit alternatives.
and strands suburban commuters in transit deserts.
The following brief highlights the need for innova- Outside of the city center, Syracuse includes 26
tive transit alternatives such as ridesharing and the square miles of suburban neighborhoods. Accord-
benefits these alternatives could bring to the city of ing to American Community Survey (ACS) data from
Syracuse. 2014, 13.7% of Syracuse workers, many of whom
live in these suburban neighborhoods, did not have
a vehicle available to transport them to work. 34.3%
Transit Landscape of these workers took public transit, while 23.8%
walked and 10.6% took a taxicab, motorcycle, bicy-
Syracuse is in the midst of a downtown renaissance,
cle, or other means. Additionally there are currently
buoyed by the newly renovated Marriott Syracuse
more than 20,000 low-income families in Syracuse
Downtown serving as the primary hotel for the
that do not own cars.
Onondaga County Convention Center, the rise of the
tech sector occurring in innovation hubs like the Syr- Many of these Syracuse neighborhoods are transit
acuse Technology Garden, the emergence of ame- deserts due to bus routes that require commuters to
nities such as the Onondaga Creekwalk and annual walk multiple city blocks to access transit. Using pub-
AmeriCU Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival, the new licly available GTFS data from Centro, corroborated
Connective Corridor connecting Syracuse University by granular population data from the 2010 U.S. Cen-
to downtown Syracuse, the recently completed Cen- sus, we identified examples of Syracuse populations
tro Transit Hub, and the rapid growth of a residential underserved by public transit.
community.
For example, Syracuse’s South Valley is a neighbor-
The new downtown Syracuse will be poorly served hood that lacks substantial public transit options.
by its current public transit system, which is operat- The dark red swaths of the following map ringed by
ed by the Central New York Regional Transportation distant bus stops allow one to visualize the transit
Authority (Centro), problems posed to residents of South Valley:

14
UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
The total population of the three Census Block
Groups in South Valley is 3,706. The area is main-
The Added Value of
ly served by the #410/410X bus route, which runs Uber in Syracuse
along South Salina Street. Post 8 PM, service can be
more than an hour apart.25 The nearby #254 does Uber has proven success in filling the void of transit
not run past 7:30 PM.26 Similarly, the nearby #510 limitations for college students across the country.
does not run past 6 PM.27 Uber could partner with Syracuse-based universities
Additional strains are placed on commuters in these and colleges, like Syracuse University, to provide
neighborhoods during the winter months, when discounted rides to college students looking to fill
average temperatures plummet to 31 degrees and the gap between transit and commercial hubs, and
the city records an average annual snowfall of 115 the campus.
inches, the most annual average snow of any metro- Uber has already provided this sort of service to oth-
politan area in the U.S. er regions with similar voids across the country.
Syracuse commuters have also been living under North Shore Community College in Danvers, MA30
the constant threat of Centro service cuts. Centro was in the midst of transit crisis before a partnership
faced an operational deficit of $5 million in 2015 and with Uber pulled them out of it. Because the closest
faced service cuts after the U.S. House nearly passed bus stop was four miles from the campus, middle
a highway bill that would have cut $12 million in and low-income students who took public transpor-
Centro funding. tation to class found themselves dropping out be-
Syracuse also has one of the highest poverty rates in cause it was too difficult to get to school. The college
the nation. According to U.S. Census date, thirty-one partnered with Uber to offer extremely discounted
percent of Syracuse residents –or 40,500 residents – rides to and from campus and major transit hubs,
were living below the poverty line in 2015. including a shopping mall five miles away.

Cuts to Centro service that have been proposed Partnerships like this have been lifesavers for stu-
in the recent past, such as ending unlimited ride dents and educators, bridging a gap that was getting
monthly cards, would hit these communities hard in the way of education – and that is precisely the
and leave many without an affordable means to get value that Uber can bring to Syracuse, which has one
to work. of the highest poverty rates in the nation.

Lastly, Syracuse’s transit limitations fail to provide a In addition to providing access to campuses to en-
critical safety net for a large population of working sure that students are able to stay in school and fur-
families and college students. Onondaga County ther their education, having Uber in Syracuse could
experiences approximately 1,300 DWI arrests28 and mean additional partnerships with local universities
12.2 DWI deaths per year.29 and colleges so that students have a discounted and
safe transportation option over late-night weekend
Alternative transit solutions offering late night rides hours.
would certainly be one solution to this problem.

25 http://www.centro.org/docs/default-source/schedule-documents/syracuse-schedules/sy-10-s-salina.pdf?sfvrsn=2
26 http://www.centro.org/docs/default-source/schedule-documents/syracuse-schedules/sy-54-midland.pdf?sfvrsn=2
27 http://www.centro.org/docs/default-source/schedule-documents/syracuse-schedules/sy-510-tully.pdf?sfvrsn=2
28 http://www.twcnews.com/nys/central-ny/news/2015/11/20/32nd-annual-lights-on-caravan-saturday.html
29 http://www.syracuse.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/06/new_york_state_dwi_deaths_by_county_who_has_the_most_fatalities.html
30 http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/11/06/499601212/out-of-options-this-school-got-uber-to-pick-up-its-students
15
UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING
The University of South Carolina partnered with The need for this in Syracuse college
Uber31 to provide rides to students at a 25%
students is especially apparent right
discount during the specified weekend late-night
hours (Thursdays through Saturdays between 10 now, as Syracuse’s downtown area
PM and 3 AM). is bustling more than ever, and On-
ondaga County is plagued with high
DWI arrests and deaths.
Uber has the potential to bring an
unparalleled value to Syracuse.

31 https://newsroom.uber.com/us-south-carolina/usc-safe-rides/
16
UPSTATE TRANSIT LANDSCAPE AND THE NEED FOR RIDESHARING