Uber Kyle $3.14 program looking to expand

By Brittany Anderson

UPDATE: The City of Kyle voted to expand the Uber Kyle $3.14 program beginning Oct. 1. Kyle residents will receive 10 trips per month with Uber for $3.14, instead of the original eight. The service area has also been expanded. Additionally, Uber will provide one round-trip from Kyle to Austin to the Veterans Administration and two one-way trips to and from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport per person, per month, for 31.4% of the ride cost.

Almost a year after its initial launch, the Uber Kyle $3.14 program is thriving and anticipating new rollouts in the near future.

At the city council meeting on Aug. 17, Kyle’s chief of staff Jerry Hendrix presented council members with updates to the program.

The program launched in October 2020 in partnership with Uber as an affordable transportation option for Kyle residents and visitors. After riders pay the first $3.14, the city subsidizes rides up to $10. Through the City of Kyle app, riders are issued one monthly voucher code to use on the Uber app, valid for eight one-way trips within Kyle city limits.

Hendrix said the goal of the program is to make hospitals, parks, shopping centers and government buildings accessible to everyone. The program also offers wheelchair accessible vehicles through UberWAV at the same cost, and a variety of assistive technology options are available through the Uber app.

Hendrix said the program is currently testing out a once-monthly ride voucher to Austin Bergstrom Airport. Riders will pay 31.4% of the ride and can choose from any of the different sized Uber vehicles, ideal for traveling with larger families.

“Riders can go to the airport from Kyle and back, and I’ve also asked them to make it to where riders can go from the airport to Kyle if they’re coming in on business or just to visit family,” Hendrix said. “That voucher could be available as early as September.”

The program is also looking to roll out a voucher for a once-monthly ride to the Austin VA Clinic; veterans would only pay $3.14 to get to the clinic in Austin for their appointment.

Hendrix said the program’s area has already expanded into Blanco Vista in San Marcos and northern Buda neighborhoods as many people in these areas utilize Kyle’s goods and services. Additionally, the program will increase the number of monthly ride vouchers from eight to 10.

Hendrix said he has received very few calls about challenges faced with the program — such as long wait times and riders who don’t have a smartphone to access the app and vouchers — but is working to address them anyway.

Overall, Hendrix said the program has been beneficial to the city as it’s cost-effective, and riders are using it the way it was intended.

“It’s available 24/7, it’s meterable, scalable, affordable and turnkey,” Hendrix said. “You can’t beat it.”

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Brittany Anderson graduated from Texas State University in August 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She previously worked at KTSW 89.9, Texas State University's radio station, for nearly two years in the web content department as a writer and assistant manager. She has reported for the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch since July 2021.

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