Uber in talks with NSW government to fill Sydney’s public transport gaps

Uber is in talks with the New South Wales government to subsidise trips for Sydneysiders between their homes and public transport hubs.

An Uber spokesman said the plans for a partnership to “fill the gaps” in areas with limited public transport were “probably the most positive signs we’ve seen across Australia”.

“We’re keen to talk about these partnership opportunities in each state, to be frank, and they are the most progressed in NSW,” the spokesman said.

Uber’s global head of transport policy and research, Andrew Salzberg, said the company provided governments with a more cost-effective alternative to delivering and maintaining public transport services or building station car parks.

“Because we’re already on the ground there’s not an enormous upfront cost to get it running,” Salzberg said in Sydney.

The Uber submission to the NSW commuter car parking inquiry said 60% of trips in Australia using the company’s app began in “public transport deserts”.

The company also suggested the government consider integrating Uber services into Sydney’s Opal card payment platform.

Salzberg said a Canadian town had begun a six-month pilot of subsidising Uber rides in May, rather than funding a public bus service.

“They partnered with us, to use the fact that we already had Uber in place, and provide discounted rides to citizens in the city, but a deeper discount to and from rail stations,” he said.

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