Union Rides: Harnessing the Shared Value of Commute Travel

Founded in 1979, Union Cab operates the largest taxi fleet in Madison, Wisconsin. The vision is to develop a shared ride service within Union Cab—Union Rides—that will reach and serve the diverse group of non-drivers and zero-car households in the region by collaborating directly with employers, workers, and community organizations. These stakeholders will use discussion and negotiation to develop and implement an affordable, flexible, demand-responsive transportation service that connects workers to jobs that are not readily accessible to them. We know that firms and workers share the value of the commute; firms sometimes offer taxi vouchers as a transportation benefit to compete for and retain workers. We capture this potential for economic development by aligning interests, and by focusing on improving accessibility in rural, small, and low-density places in the region. Union Rides will become a sustainable program designed to benefit all three constituencies: Union Cab, which would gain from operating at full capacity; the underserved non-driving populations, who would gain access to quality employment; and employers, that would benefit from recruiting talented employees. SEED funding from C-TEDD supports developing the pilot project and its evaluation.