Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

@Uber and @Lyft users more likely to use public transport frequently

Posted On Tuesday, 3 May 2016

When ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft burst onto the scene, they were talking about disrupting the decades-old mobility networks that preceded them. Their targets fell squarely on taxis, but public transport felt the heat too: would people stop hopping on buses if they could summon a ride with a tap of the finger?
The president and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the industry group that represents all those public transportation agencies, announced that, “Together with companies like Lyft and Uber, we are integral to creating a dynamic multimodal lifestyle.” APTA had just unveiled a study showing that ride-sharing and car-sharing services can play a valuable role in complementing the fixed routes of traditional transportation agencies.

The APTA study confirmed with data what many users of shared mobility apps intuitively know: they don’t serve the same purpose as public transport. In particular, riders most frequently turn to ride-sourcing apps for social trips, rather than commuting. The peak demand in a week lands between 10pm and 4am on weekends, when public transport has stopped running or operates infrequently enough to be inconvenient.

When comparing people who use public transport with those who pair it with newer forms of shared mobility, the latter group drove less, was less likely to buy a new car, and was more likely to save money on transportation. The new mobility startups are linked to a lifestyle that’s less dependent on car ownership even compared to people who use public transport frequently. That means if public transportation agencies want to help people get around without cars, they might want to encourage their riders to check out more of these auxiliary transportation options, specially in America due to the low density population compared to Europe or Asia.

The four main findings of the study can be summarised as:
 1) The more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transport, own fewer cars, and spend less on transportation overall.
 2) Shared modes complement public transport, enhancing urban mobility.
 3) Shared modes will continue to grow in significance, and public entities should engage with them to ensure that benefits are widely and equitably shared.
 4) The public sector and private mobility operators are eager to collaborate to improve paratranport using emerging approaches and technology. 

Also, 20% of those who have started using shared transportation said they postponed buying a car, 21% sold a car and didn’t replace it, and 18% decided not to buy a car at all.

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