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Study: Uber, Lyft Carpooling Options Are Making Traffic Congestion Worse

July 26, 2018 - 2:11 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A new study finds the carpooling options offered by services such as Uber and Lyft are actually making city traffic worse.

The study was conducted by Bruce Schaller, a former New York City deputy Department of Transportation commissioner.

“The study essentially found that contrary to popular belief, services like UberPool and Lyft Line are actually adding to the number of vehicle miles traveled in major cities – specifically by appealing to people who would otherwise take what are seen as more efficient modes – so walking, biking, the rail, or the bus,” Washington Post Transportation Reporter Faiz Siddiqui told WCBS 880’s Michael Wallace.

To try to reduce the glut of the ridesharing vehicles, Schaller advises an assortment of mitigation strategies.

Siddiqui said those strategies range “from increased prioritization of the subway and the bus system, for example; more dedicated bus lanes; congestion pricing – policies that look at combating the rise, or countering the rise of these services, and shifting people back toward more efficient modes.”

But that all comes amid complaints about service on the New York City subway system, as well as the D.C. Metro. In New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is also pushing forward to increase fares by 4 percent for next year.

Given the service problems, Siddiqui said few blame people for shifting to other modes such as ridesharing. Schaller’s study emphasizes that cities need to invest in public transit in a way that takes Uber and Lyft seriously, as has not happened in the past.

“So it just sort of requires like a change in strategy or a targeted strategy, because what Uber and Lyft are doing is specifically targeting users who are looking at rides that are in that $2, $3, $4 range, and that was previously a captive market for transit agencies,” Siddiqui said.