Uber wants the government to subsidize rides for commuters going to and from train stations, a plan which the Australian government is actively considering. The ride-sharing giant has argued that it would encourage a rise in train patronage and it would also help reduce the need to expand current commuter car parks at a significant cost. Versions of this proposed plan has already been adopted in certain US cities, such as Summit, New Jersey and Pinellas County, Florida. Transport Minister Andrew Constance stated he welcomed "working with any providers that can bring convenience to customers and further innovation to the transport network."
"I am particularly interested in improving first-mile, last-mile transport options that point-to-point providers may be able to offer," he added. The ride sharing giant is eager to test pilot programs in some of the busier suburban stations. Uber's submission to the government said: "These type of programs are not only cost-effective in comparison with building fixed infrastructure such as commuter parking, they also have the capacity to be expanded over time, accommodating for growth and change in an area." The program proposes both Uber and the government would contribute to the cost of the users' fare. "This is in contract to a commuter car park, where limited parking space will inevitably fill up, thus requiring further infrastructure to be built."
Uber has suggested the government should consider integrating the service into the Opal card system. The Opal card is required in order to use the trains in Australia; it works like a credit card system which will deduct the fare from the pre-paid card. With such services it may ultimately reduce personal car ownership. Car rentals companies will also see reduced clientele if Uber could replace personal car ownership. During the inquiry, Transport and Infrastructure committee chair Eleni Petinos said "a key factor to keep Sydney and NSW moving is to encourage the use of public transport, and one of the main ways we can do this is by ensuring that train stations remain accessible and convenient to use."