SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Thousands of people using Uber in parts of Seminole and Orange counties have enjoyed a discount on their fare if they were staying local.

But that discount is now over because a pilot project between Uber and several Central Florida cities ended this summer.

  • Pilot program between Uber, Central Fla. cities end
  • Riders in partner cities get discount riding from 1 city to another
  • City leaders consider renewing the rideshare discount

The cities of Sanford, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Longwood and Maitland partnered with each other – and Uber – to allow riders to get a twenty-percent discount if they were going from one city to another, or a larger discount if they were travel to or from a SunRail station.

But the pilot program ended in July.

The owner of Shantell’s restaurant in Sanford believes the discount on Uber rides helped bring people into her business.

“And some people just love a deal, so even people who might not clip coupons say, ‘Oh, I get 20 percent, let’s just go there,’ and their plans might have been to go to Winter Park,” said Shantell Williams.

But for now, the discounts are no longer available.

“We even had somebody from Kissimmee who rode the SunRail, so I think to extend that program would be perfect and maybe mean more business,” said Williams.

Altamonte Springs City Manager Frank Martz told Spectrum News 13 city leaders are now considering whether to renew the rideshare discount, and if they do, what changes they might make to the program. 

Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte says city leaders there are also considering whether to renew some sort of ridesharing discount.

One thing all of the cities have to consider is the cost. Martz says 186,148 total rides used the discount.  That cost all of the cities collectively about $330,000.

The Sanford City Commission is expected to approve, pulling an extra $83,643 from its budget to fully pay Uber for the cost of the discounts within the City of Sanford. The city only budgeted $50,000, double what riders used the year before.  

Williams believes the money is more than worth it if it brings more people to downtown Sanford and to businesses like hers.

“I think it’s important to extend the discount, like the one they just had, because it gives people incentives,” said Williams.