Stop asking whether Uber is transit’s enemy



By Laura Bliss

The more important question is how ride services factor into cities’ goals for mobility. A new analysis of New York City shows why.

At 11 p.m. on a Thursday in February, two friends in Brooklyn are preparing for a trip home from Park Slope to Bed-Stuy. They’re both new in town, and they study their Google Maps options closely: Taking the subway means a 15-minute walk to a station on the F line, where their train coming in from Manhattan had been delayed 20 minutes. Then they’d have to transfer to the C, with a likely wait time of 10 or 15 minutes. To travel three miles, this could be an hour-long adventure.

The friends could probably walk in the same amount of time, or pedal home in 20 minutes using bike-share, but the weather is freezing. They check Lyft: Splitting a pooled ride with one another (and perhaps an extra stranger) means paying $7 for a roughly 25-minute trip in a sweetly overheated sedan, directly to their doors. The choice is very clear.

Do stories like these explain the declining passenger base of transit agencies across the U.S.? Amid the rise of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, this logic goes, travelers will pay extra for a lot of added convenience, leaving transit options—which leave a lot to be desired—to waste.


Read more here.

This story first appeared in CityLab and appears here by kind permission of the author. 

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