The drumbeat is getting louder.

From The New Yorker:

Uber’s most significant contribution to mobility in cities may be our increasing lack of it. …

… (Ridehailing companies like Uber) create immediate declines in bus and rail ridership—declines so steep that, in the next eight years, some transit agencies would have to increase service by more than twenty-five per cent just to retain their normal ridership. Cities struggling to keep subways and buses running are being drained of revenue by tech companies and a reserve army of cars.

These cars, in turn, coagulate the arteries of the city, blocking the remaining fleet of buses, causing a downward spiral of decreasing ridership and growing traffic. …

Transportation consultants have suggested congestion pricing for central business districts, to regulate the number of vehicles on city streets. … A more serious proposal might start with the possibility that Uber is opposed to public transit by design—every ride taken on a subway or bus is competition for its growing supply of cars.

The app’s interface—that empty map—declares its priorities: the individual, the vehicle, and a place to be. It erases public space and public lives. The public good is not far behind.

 

From Streetsblog:

All the Bad Things About Uber and Lyft In One Simple List

Here’s the latest evidence that Uber and Lyft are destroying our world: Students at the University of California Los Angeles are taking an astonishing 11,000 app-based taxi trips every week that begin and end within the boundaries of the campus.

The report in the Daily Bruin revealed anew that Uber, Lyft, Via and the like are massively increasing car trips in many of the most walkable and transit friendly places in U.S.

It comes after a raft of recent studies have found negative effects from Uber and Lyft, such as increased congestion, higher traffic fatalities, huge declines in transit ridership and other negative impacts. It’s becoming more and more clear that Uber and Lyft having some pretty pernicious effects on public health and the environment, especially in some of the country’s largest cities.

We decided to compile it all into a comprehensive list, and well, you judge for yourself. Here we go:

 

They increase driving — a lot

The U.C.L.A. trips are an example of what is happening at a much wider scale: A lot more driving…..

Uber and Lyft, for example, are providing 90,000 rides a day in Seattle now. That’s more than are carried daily by the city’s light rail system, the Seattle Times reports.

… a University of Chicago study found the presence of Uber and Lyft in cities actually increases new vehicle registrations. That’s because the companies encourage lower-income people to purchase cars, even advertising in some markets how people should put that new car to use — as an Uber. …

 

They spend half their time ‘deadheading’

For every mile a Uber or Lyft car drives with a passenger, it cruises as many miles — if not more — without a passenger, a practice known in the industry as “deadheading.” Estimates of total deadheading time vary from 30 percent to as much as 60 percent. …

 

They operate in transit-friendly areas

Transit systems around the nation are losing riders to Uber and Lyft, which suggests that the companies are merely showing the need to beef up transit service across the country. …

But if you drill down, something else is at work because Uber and Lyft primarily operate in areas that are best served by transit. For example in Seattle, about half the rides taken in Uber and Lyft originate in just four neighborhoods: downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union and Capitol Hill, according to David Gutman at the Seattle Times. These are some of the city’s most walkable and transit-friendly areas. …

Graph: Bruce Shaller
Graph: Bruce Shaller

 

They mostly replace biking, walking or transit trips

In an ideal world, Uber and Lyft would be making good on their promise to reduce private car ownership because city dwellers would feel more comfortable selling their cars, thanks to the presence of Uber and Lyft.

But the data shows that Uber and Lyft mostly “free” people from walking and transit. …

 

They hurt transit 

Uber and Lyft are just crushing transit service in the U.S. A recent study estimated, for example, they had reduced bus ridership in San Francisco, for example, 12 percent since 2010 — or about 1.7 percent annually. And each year the services are offered, the effect grows, researcher Gregory Erhardt found. …

Worse is the tale of two cities effect: Relatively well off people in Ubers congesting the streets of Manhattan and San Francisco slow down buses full of relatively low-income people. By giving people who can afford it escape from the subway, Uber and Lyft also reduce social interaction between people of different classes and lead to a more stratified society. ….

 

They reduce political support for transit

As an added kick in the shins, Uber and Lyft degrade political support for transit. If relatively well-to-do people can hop in an Uber or a Lyft every time the bus or train is late, the political imperative to address the problem is reduced. The wealthier people substituting Uber and Lyft for transit trips have disproportionate political influence. …

 

They increase traffic fatalities

The University of Chicago study mentioned earlier estimated that Uber and Lyft increased traffic fatalities last year by an astonishing 1,100 — an enormous human toll. The study also found, surprisingly, that Uber and Lyft have no effect on drunk driving. …

 

They hoard their data

One qualification with this list: Much of the information we have about Lyft and Uber is imperfect. The two companies make it difficult to study the social impacts of their activities because they jealously guard their data. …

 

Oh, and one more thing…

These are just the transportation related drawbacks. To say nothing of these companies treatment of their employees, or the behavior of their top management or their huge financial losses.

 

Full article here.

 

 

Comments

  1. Get Federal, provincial or local city government to impose environmental congestion charges on Uber and its drivers as a recognition on their impact upon the transport corridor.

  2. At YVR a week ago near midnight there was a lineup of 100 people waiting outside for taxis, many of them muttering ‘we need Uber, we need Uber.’ But how would Uber work if 50 cars show up on the same 100 feet of pavement? ‘I’m lookin’ for the guy who wants to go to Davie Street.’ As for more normal situations, as your article shows, most people will choose personal comfort and convenience over any concept of public good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *