333 Thornall St. in Edison — Courtesy: Mack-Cali Realty Corp.
By Joshua Burd
Mack-Cali Realty Corp. will subsidize Uber rides to and from its suburban Metropark office buildings, under a newly announced partnership with the ridesharing company aimed at creating additional convenience at the properties.
The companies on Thursday unveiled a pilot program for four buildings in Woodbridge and Edison, in which the REIT will pay for the first $15 of a tenant’s ride. The program is designed in part to allow the commuters to be car-free, while connecting them with the nearby Metropark train station.
The three-month pilot problem will also help commuters rethink their transportation habits and add to the health- and wellness-minded amenities within Mack-Cali’s portfolio, the company said. The real estate giant has placed a premium on urban submarkets such as the Hudson waterfront as it has trimmed its portfolio in recent years, but has retained a presence in strong-performing suburbs such as Metropark, which is served by major highways and a train station.
“We’re constantly looking for new ways to up the convenience quotient for our office tenants, and this partnership with Uber is an innovative way to do so,” said Michael J. DeMarco, Mack-Cali’s CEO. “We realize our tenants work long, sometimes unpredictable hours. We hope that, by providing them with subsidized Uber rides, we can help simplify this aspect of their lives.”
Tenants at 343 and 333 Thornall St. in Edison, 101 Wood Ave. in Iselin and 581 Main St. in Woodbridge will be eligible for the commuter ridesharing program, the companies said. Trips covered under the program must start or end at one of the specified buildings and must take place Monday through Friday, between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Tenants at each building will have access to a specialized Uber for Business payment profile that allows them to bill the first $15 of eligible rides directly to Mack-Cali, according to a news release. Uber’s upfront pricing means that riders will know the cost before requesting their ride, while any overages beyond $15 will be billed automatically to the rider’s personal payment method.
Uber and Mack-Cali also plan to establish a pickup and drop-off area with custom signage at each location that will be integrated directly into the Uber app.
“Working with Mack-Cali to help commuters reach public transit is part of Uber’s broader vision for the future of urban and suburban mobility,” said Sarfraz Maredia, Uber’s regional general manager for the Northeast. “We want to see a world with less traffic congestion and lower carbon emissions, and one of the ways to get there is by encouraging more people to use a combination of ridesharing and public transit for their daily commute.”
Uber previously pioneered a commuter ridesharing program with the city of Summit in 2016 in order to help improve residents’ access to mass transit. Under the initiative, the city subsidizes ridesharing trips to and from the local train station in an effort to provide a convenient, affordable option that helps commuters live car-free.