By Faiz Siddiqui of The Washington Post : mercurynews – excerpt
The explosive growth of Uber and Lyft has created a new traffic problem for major U.S. cities and ride-sharing options such as UberPool and Lyft Line are exacerbating the issue by appealing directly to customers who would otherwise have taken transit, walked, biked or not used a ride-hail service at all, according to a new study.
The report by Bruce Schaller, author of the influential study, “Unsustainable?”, which found ride-hail services were making traffic congestion in New York City worse, constructs a detailed profile of the typical ride-hail user and issues a stark warning to cities: make efforts to counter the growth of ride-hail services, or surrender city streets to fleets of private cars, creating a more hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists and ultimately make urban cores less desirable places to live.
Schaller concludes that where private ride options such as UberX and Lyft have failed on promises to cut down on personal driving and car ownership – both of which are trending up – pooled ride services have lured a different market that directly competes with subway and bus systems, while failing to achieve significantly better efficiency than their solo alternatives. The result: more driving overall.
Ride sharing has added 5.7 billion vehicle miles to nine major urban areas over six years, the report says, and the trend is “likely to intensify” as the popularity of the services surges. (The study notes that total ride-hailing trips in New York increased 72 percent from 2016 to 2017 and 47 percent in Seattle over that time. Revenue data from the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles showed the ride-hailing industry’s growth quadrupled in the District from late 2015 to 2017.)
The nine cities studied were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle..
Instead of admitting that the ride-hails are adding to the traffic, the EMERGING MOBILITY | EVALUATION REPORT put out for the SFCTA, blamed the TNCs for not releasing their data. One doesn’t need the TNC’s data to observe that the ride-hails pouring into the city from out of town to compete with all the pubic transit systems are private vehicles. Since they don’t park, but drive around waiting for a ride, there is bound to be more traffic on all the streets. There is an easy solution to that problem. Return the curbs back to the public.
Here is an idea of a pilot project: Remove the special the parking privileges for the TNCs. Return street parking to the public in some neighborhoods and see if more people driving themselves around and parking doesn’t result in less traffic and healthier retail stores. Once the ride-hails lose their customers, they will quit driving into town. That should clear some of the congestion off the bridges and highways, and maybe more people will switch back to public transportation, especially if the bus stops are left in place.