Ride Sharing Companies Plan to Cram DC Streets with More Cars, Traffic Due to "Necessary" Metro Closures

by Sean Riley

The Hill

The D.C ride-hailing startup Split is hoping to elevate its profile during travel disruptions from safety-related closures and delays on Washington’s subway system over the next year.

The Metrorail system’s massive repair effort, known as SafeTrack, begins on Saturday and will involve continuous single-tracking in some areas, complete shutdowns in other areas and weekend service that ends at midnight.

WAMU reports that Metro is expecting unprecedented "crush loads" of passengers unless riders seek alternative transit options. A number of ride-hailing firms are vying to meet the extra demand.

Split, a pool service company that launched in D.C. last year, sees SafeTrack as an opportunity to make a greater mark on the region.

The company uses an algorithm to connect people traveling in the same direction, allowing them to ride with another customer for a lower fare.

“We’re excited to see how we can help alleviate the impact from SafeTrack and provide an affordable and reliable community option for D.C.,” said Sara Pierce, head of marketing and communications for Split. “Our goal is to be people’s everyday transportation option and make a tangible impact on the city by taking cars off the road.”

During the entire month of June – while Metro rolls out the first phase of the repair effort – Split is awarding riders a $1 credit for every trip they take. 

The firm is also increasing its driver base by 10 percent every week to keep up with growing demand and will be making routing improvements near key Metro stops most impacted by closures and single-tracking.

During a 24-hour shutdown of Metro’s entire transit system in March, Split saw a 50 percent increase in riders. Pierce said she is anticipating similar growth throughout the SafeTrack effort.

Split differs from other ride-hailing firms like Uber and Lyft because it does not have “surge pricing,” or fares that spike with demand. 

But unlike its competitors, Split only covers a portion of D.C. and does not include Virginia or Maryland – two areas that will be heavily impacted by the subway delays and closures. [MORE]