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In hindsight, it sounds like an obvious PR maneuver: Public agencies see a problem, and private corporations promise a solution. It’s not at all difficult to remember that following the rapid growths of Uber and its competitor Lyft, a lot of hype began swirling about the many and great promises transportation network companies (TNCs) could offer cities and the mobility ecosystem. Two of the heaviest claims made in their support were that they would dramatically ease congestion and that they could even help restore our public transit by acting as a first-mile/last-mile mobility solution.
Both are problems so seemingly insurmountable that solutions to them could seem contingent on such wildly disruptive technologies — not to mention the fact that cities may be in favor of cheap, easy solutions, particularly in sectors where funds are tight and tech is outdated, which can include public transit.
Then there was the wow factor ushered in by companies like Uber. The fares were low. The usability was so easy. The service was so fast. And the concept was so simple that it made many people — myself included — truly want ride-hailing to be the single solution to two major urban mobility concerns.
Does Ride-Hailing Ease Congestion?
The argument supporting ride-hailing services as a levee against traffic congestion seems straightforward enough, at least to most people: The more TNCs on the road, the fewer personal vehicles in traffic. When services like UberPool and Lyft Line were introduced, a change almost seemed inevitable.
Pooling services make up 20% of Uber rides and 35% of Lyft rides. Yet, despite this, a study of San Francisco traffic from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority found that TNCs now contribute about 30% of weekday traffic delay in one district and 50% in another. Dense urban areas, such as San Francisco, may see the brunt of TNCs’ contribution to congestion, where the impact of traffic-causing behavior (such as nonstop circling for passengers and pick-ups and drop-offs from the middle of the lane) can be magnified.
Written by Keith B. Jones, Owner and Managing Partner at ACE, and a Forbes Contributing Editor
“This article originally appeared here” https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2019/11/13/the-challenges-of-ride-hailing-services-and-how-we-address-public-transportation-problems/#305fb1a81ab7