Uber has announced it will acquire Routematch, an Atlanta-based company developing software for public transportation agencies. The news comes amid the company’s wider commitment to public transportation.
Uber has not disclosed the terms of the deal. Founded in 2000, Routematch sells software to public transport companies for data management, dispatching, travel booking and ticketing. Uber said the acquisition will support her own efforts to integrate more public transport services into her app, such as route planning and ticket purchases.
The news comes on the heels of Uber’s announcement that it would start selling the software that powers its ride-hailing business to transit agencies, with California transportation company Marin County as the primary customer. But the deal started small, enabling logistics for only four wheelchair-friendly vans. The acquisition of Routematch, which has partnerships with more than 500 public transportation companies, appears to be aimed at finding new customers and new revenue streams for the Uber software-as-service program.
Routematch has had some success in helping small rural communities improve their bus service. Last year, the company partnered with the city of Bad Ax, Michigan, to provide Uber-style free bus services to hundreds of Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria, which had moved to the area for work, upon request. Routematch also helps officials in Cecil County, Maryland to develop free, on-demand bus services for people with opioid addiction to travel to and from recovery meetings.
Over the years, Uber has been charged compete directly with and poach riders from metros, trains and buses. The declining bus and metro ride has been linked to the rise of app-based ride hailing in dozens of cities across the United States. Recently, Uber added public transportation directions and ticketing to its app in some cities, hoping that by criticizing transit in its app it can mitigate this criticism.
Last year, Uber announced it would start selling train and bus tickets to customers in Denver, Colorado through its app. Since then, the company has integrated schedules and directions for public transportation for more than a dozen other cities into its app. Less than a year later, Uber says that “over 2 million riders” have tried Uber Transit.
Uber also recently announced its plans to acquire Postmate’s grocery and food delivery services for $ 2.65 billion. The company is struggling to expand its revenue-generating options as the pandemic continues to ruin its core transportation business. At the height of the April pandemic, Uber said the ride-hailing division had fallen by about 80 percent. The company cut more than 25 percent of its workforce in response to the pandemic. And with the number of COVID cases increasing in many parts of the US, losses are likely to increase even further.