Porterville and Uber team up to provide on-demand transportation service to residents

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Porterville, Uber team up to provide on-demand transportation service
The new partnership has been advertised at bus stops and on the city's fixed-route buses.

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Porterville is giving residents more options to get around town.

The city has provided an on-demand transportation service, called transPORT, for more than a year.

But on Saturday, transPORT started using technology from Uber, the popular ridesharing company.

Uber officials say they have similar partnerships in four other locations.

The new partnership has been advertised at bus stops and on the city's fixed route buses.

"We're just utilizing their software," Porterville Transit Manager Richard Tree said. "Essentially we pay a monthly fee and software as a service type of arrangement. But you'll find our service right on the Uber app."

Using the Uber app, Tree booked a trip to Target for us on Tuesday morning.

We could see when we would be picked up, what we would be riding in (one of the city's new seven passenger electric vans), who our driver would be (a Porterville Transit driver), and how they have been rated by riders.

We were joined by two other riders along the way, including Felecita Gonzalez.

She booked her trip over the phone and paid with cash.

Both are options for riders who aren't using the app.

"It's very convenient," Gonzalez said. "It's very helpful."

Gonzalez hopes the service expands to other communities in the South Valley.

That may happen soon, but right now, it's available in Porterville, East Porterville, and Strathmore.

Tree says riders can expect to be picked up within 15 minutes of booking a trip.

"If you're looking to go to a doctor's appointment and you don't have a lot of time, this type of service is perfect for that where you can jump on the app, make a quick trip and you know it's a fixed flat fee, so there's no guessing," Tree said.

Since the city's on-demand service started, Tree says ridership has increased at a rapid rate.

The agreement with Uber is for two years, but because of its success and efficiency, he says on-demand service is here to stay.

"We really think this mode of service competes well with a car," Tree said. "I think it's been our experience that people are gravitating to this type of service, rather than waiting at a bus stop for 40 minutes and then there could be 20 or 30 people on pre-COVID."

Porterville Transit's transPORT costs $3 per rider per trip.

It operates 6AM to 9PM on weekdays and 8AM to 8PM on weekends.

Masks are required for the time being.