The empirical impact of Lyft and Uber on cities: congestion (especially downtown, especially during "surges"), overworked drivers

Mike Moffitt sums up the empirical work on the impact of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft for cities: an increase in congestion, especially downtown, especially during "surges" (Uber and Lyft insist that they reduce congestion, especially in downtowns, and especially during surges!); lower wages, longer hours and more precarious work for drivers (accompanied by the slow death of the taxi/limo businesses); huge losses for car-rental companies; and less walking, cycling and use of public transit (awithnd accompanying cuts to transit).

The (wildly unprofitable) rideshare companies' path to profitability involves cutting driver pay much more and recruiting many more drivers.

It's not all bad news: the taxi/limo businesses that are being killed by rideshares are often really dirty, and the demand for parking in cities is also way, way down.

Congestion is much worse in high-density city business centers, such as the Financial District, than in residential areas. A June 2017 study found that on a typical weekday in San Francisco, ride-hailing drivers make more than 170,000 vehicle trips and that the trips are concentrated in the densest parts of the city.

Both Uber and Lyft say they support congestion pricing, such as the plan New York legislators approved for Manhattan that would charge drivers entering the borough about $12 to sit in traffic. But if congestion pricing discourages people from driving into the city in their own cars, ride-hailing services could see a surge of new customers.

During periods of high demand for rides with a limited supply of cars, Uber and Lyft raise their prices dramatically — doubling or tripling them, for example, on New Year's Eve. A 2016 Uber and University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, study that tried to make the case that surge pricing was beneficial to customers noted that surge pricing coincided with a doubling of drivers on the roa

What science says Uber and Lyft are doing to San Francisco [Mike Moffitt/SFGATE]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: B137, CC0)