Uber and Lyft changed how Philly gets around. What does that mean for the city? - Philly.com
My first experience with ride hailing came as I was with a friend and grumbling about finding a cab home from a party on Boathouse Row.
She mentioned “Uber,” which at the time meant nothing to me, and pulled out her smart phone. Not long after, a SUV pulled up looking for us. I was stunned by this high-tech, super-convenient service.
About three years later, what was a novelty has become routine, but cities and transportation agencies are still trying to grasp what this new industry means for travel. The University of California-Davis Institute of Transportation Studies last month offered one of the most comprehensive studies to date on how people are using ride hailing services, with information gathered in 2014 through 2016 from people in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Among the findings:
Ride-hailing users skew younger, better educated, and richer, and the service is more widely used in cities than the ‘burbs.
Ride hailing causes a 6 percent reduction in bus ridership, and a 3 percent reduction in light rail ridership. On the other hand, the study found ride sharing was associated with a 3 percent increase in commuter rail ridership. Ride-hailing users walked more, too, the study reported.
Ride-hailing users have about the same rate of car ownership as people who don’t use transit. Most ride-hailing users didn’t get rid of their car but those who did — about 9 percent — reported using ride hailing vehicles when they would have used a private vehicle.
49% to 61% of ride hailing trips would have been taken by walking, bike, or transit, or not taken at all, if ride hailing wasn’t available.
The study’s authors found “ride-hailing is currently likely to contribute to growth in vehicle miles traveled in
the major cities represented in this study.”
We asked four Philadelphia transportation experts for their thoughts on how ride sharing is reshaping how people in this region get around. Here are excerpts from their responses.
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