Are Uber and Lyft helping or hurting public transit? - Curbed

As ridehailing services such as Uber and Lyft continue to grow, their impact on transportation policy, congestion, and the environment have been the subject of much curiosity and research. Can the ease of ridehaiing convince car owners to abandon their vehicles and rely on new mobility options, or will it lead to more car trips and increased congestion?

A new report issued this morning suggets that ridehailing is becoming more intertwined with mass transit. Commissioned by Masabi, a mobile ticketing service that works with transit systems as well as companies such as Uber and Lyft, the new research surveyed 1,000 adults in the United States last fall with access to mass transit.

More than one-third of respondents (35 percent) said they are combining ridesharing with public transit on an occasional basis, while 7 percent are combing transit and ridehailing on a weekly basis. In addition, while 80 percent of weekly drivers said they never use public transit, 95.5 percent of weekly rideshare riders utilize public transit.

Aiming to capture how public transit systems are faring in a rapidly evolving mobility and technology environment, the report comes as the impact of Uber and Lyft on transit service, and overall emissions, has been debated by researchers and transit advocates.

Another report released last October by University of California Davis transportation researcher Dr. Regina Clewlow found that while widespread usage of these services may be decreasing the number of miles users drive themselves, it appears, overall, to increase the total miles driven in cities.

Clewlow’s research found that 49 to 61 percent of ride-hailing trips “would not have been made at all, or made by walking, biking, or transit,” suggesting that Uber and Lyft are replacing other modes of transit.

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