A recent study from DePaul University examines when and why consumers choose an on-demand ride like Uber or Lyft—or indeed a carpooled on-demand ride—over public transit in Chicago.
The researchers found that saving time might not be riders’ main motivation for choosing these apps: even though riders saved considerable time using them outside of the city’s downtown core, none of these rides were “cost-effective,” at least according to U.S. DOT’s metric.
Laura Bliss writes:
Did you know that the U.S. DOT has an official metric for what it considers valuable time-savings for commuters? In 2018 dollars, an hour of time savings is worth $14.95, by federal standards. That number is used by transportation planners to assess whether transportation improvements such as road widenings and service extensions are micro-economically worthwhile.
In those terms, although Lyft and UberX trips tend to save travelers considerable time over transit, only a small share of them met that cash value standard. For example, Schwieterman and Livingston write, an UberX trip that saves about 15 minutes of travel but costs $17 more than a CTA trips works out to spending about $68 per hour, or about $1.13 per minute, of travel time saved. That means the rider is paying more than four times the cash value of that hour, at least according to the DOT. Across trip geographies, less than 1 percent of Lyft Line rides, 4.9 percent of UberPool trips, and 0.2 percent of the private-ride TNC options met the $14.95 savings standard.
Virtually none of the downtown trips were worthy by this metric, either. The cost-effectiveness of TNCs was considerably better for traveling between neighborhoods, especially on Lyft. But, for riders who value their time at roughly the rate of the federal government, transit was essentially always the winner.
The researchers identified other reasons why people choose Uber and Lyft besides time. Notably, transit’s unpredictability pushed riders to ride-hail apps.
Click here to read the full article: https://mobilitylab.org/2018/06/25/when-and-why-do-people-choose-ride-hailing/