UPDATE: 8:20 p.m.
SEPTA’s Regional Rail crisis could be a major opportunity for Uber. The ride-sharing service plans to introduce a $1 million initiative it claims will “help keep the Philly metro area moving” as commuters deal with the overcrowding and delays stemming from the recall of SEPTA’s Silverliner V car.
Earlier in the day a representative for the company declined to provide specifics about what Uber’s plans might entail. More details are expected to be released at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Uber has increased its footprint in other regions during transportation crises, particularly Washington, D.C. The year-long overhaul of DC’s Metro transit service started in May, and involves closing down several lines.
Uber responded by expanding its UberPOOL service into several suburban cities. It had previously been available only in Washington, D.C. and nearby Virginia suburbs like Arlington and Alexandria.
Right now, UberPOOL is available in Philadelphia but not deep into the suburbs. If you’re looking to go anywhere on the Main Line or to other places usually full of Regional Rail riders, like Conshohocken or Norristown, UberPOOL is not an option.
In DC, Uber also invested $10 million to “incentivize driving and ease congestion” by offering bonuses to drivers to go to high-demand areas, and creating some discounts for riders. It also launched a website highlighting areas of DC and the suburbs most severely affected by the Metro maintenance that shows the prices for UberPOOL in those areas.
Uber did not put a cap on its surge pricing. Early this morning, despite the Regional Rail problems, UberPOOL, UberX and UberBlack were available at the regular rates.