Uber, Airbnb Partner With Local Governments to Improve Emergency Preparedness and Transportation Service

As ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, and room service companies such as Airbnb, have expanded operations across the country, state and local governments have struggled with how to regulate them. However, some jurisdictions have decided to work more closely with these companies to improve emergency preparedness and transportation operations.

An article in Governing describes the partnerships that are developing.

Several companies use technology to let people book stays at other people’s houses instead of hotels. The biggest is Airbnb, which is expected to generate more than $850 million in revenue this year and by some estimates is worth more than the Marriott hotel chain. In 2012, when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast, some 1,400 Airbnb hosts — people who rent their rooms to others —  listed their lodgings at no cost for people displaced by the storm. Since then, Airbnb hosts in other cities around the world — including Toronto, San Diego and Atlanta — have offered free rentals to displaced people during local emergencies.

The cities of Portland and Oregon are also partnering with Airbnb to provide similar services.

On the transportation side, Macomb County, Michigan has started a pilot program with Uber to provide transportation for those who have received a summons for jury duty.

The pilot project, launched in July, gives each juror an Uber code that covers a $20 ride to the courthouse (which Uber offers the county for free) on the morning of jury duty. County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh said the service gives jurors a safe ride to the courthouse and helps them avoid the hassles of limited parking in the area.

For more information, see the full article in Governing.