Despite what the April Fool's picture above suggests, Uber did not recently launch a private, on-demand train service called UberT. But whether it meant to or not, the gag underscored a real and growing tension between public transportation agencies and flexible car or bus services that position themselves as transit competitors. Here's how Leap Transit, the new Bay Area flex-bus being touted as a Muni alternative, explains itself to potential investors:
Transit agencies have cautiously acknowledged the trend, but it's clear they're paying attention, says Doug Kaufman, CEO of TransLoc, a transit technology company that works with agencies to provide real-time information. Kaufman says on-demand transportation services like Uber, Leap Transit, and Bridj have made mass transit agencies realize that their ridership could actually be threatened over time.