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Bay Area transit system to subsidize Uber, Lyft rides

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William Cutright
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DUBLIN -- In a first for California, a public transit agency next month plans to begin subsidizing fares of people who take private Uber and Lyft cars to local destinations rather than riding the bus.

Passengers ordering Uber or Lyft car trips within two test areas of Dublin will be eligible to get door-to-destination service at a big discount under a partnership between the ride-hailing companies and the Wheels public bus system in Dublin, Alameda and Pleasanton.The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, which operates Wheels, said the one-year pilot project could help pave the way for changes in how public transit agencies in the United States serve suburban areas hampered by far-flung bus routes, few riders and little money from fares.

A Wheels "express" bus waits for passengers at the Pleasanton/Dublin BART station in Pleasanton, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016.

Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group Doug Duran

"Our board is very interested in trying to use new technology in a creative way to improve service and efficiencies in suburban areas that are traditionally very challenging to serve," said Michael Tree, the valley transit authority's executive director.

"We are the first transit agency in the West actively planning this type of service.

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