This U.S. City Is Subsidizing Uber — Here’s Why

In Altamonte Springs, a small city of 42,000 in Central Florida, City Manager Frank Martz isn’t just welcoming the app. Along with Mayor Patricia Bates, he’s helping spearhead a new initiative that will pay the ride-sharing behemoth up to $500,000 over the next year as part of a first-in-the-nation pilot program. And the system set up to pay for rides—a unique municipal subsidy that covers 20% of any ride that begins and ends in the city, 25% if it begins or ends at the local light rail station—has already gotten others cities in the surrounding Seminole County interested in replicating it, even though it just started running yesterday. Martz says the inspiration came from previous attempts to simplify transportation in the city, located in the middle of the booming (and increasingly crowded) Central Florida region.