Today’s Headlines

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • ddartley

    Everyone’s invited to attend a press conference TODAY in opposition to Albany’s outrageous moves on traffic arrests:
    https://www.facebook.com/events/654552131313627/

  • Transit advocates like this blog should really be a more vocal opponent of all these attempts to constrain black car services like Uber. 10,000 more uber cars means countless fewer personal cars, which means fewer people circling endlessly for parking, fewer people taking their personal car for short trips because “it’s there anyway”, and more people relying on transit for the bulk of their journey and using car service just to fill the gaps in transit.

  • qrt145

    Taxis (Uber or not) also cruise empty a good chunk of the time, so I think the argument that they take cars off the roads is debatable. I’d be interested in seeing some hard data.

  • Matthias

    Agreed, we need data showing what people are switching from–taxis? liveries? transit? PMVs? new trips? People are buying cars specifically to drive for Uber, so more vehicles are definitely being added to the streets–the question is how many would be added without these for-hire services.

  • I agree we need data, but logical reasoning will have to suffice in the interim. My reasoning for Uber, specifically, is that they rarely cruise empty unless headed to a specific pick-up spot or home, whereas personal cars can cruise for parking endlessly. Also, since there is a high marginal cost to every trip with Uber, they dissuade people from using cars unless it’s really worth it.

  • But in New York, Uber mostly operates in parts of the city that are transit rich with low car ownership. I highly doubt that this is taking cars off the street.

  • qrt145

    What do Uber drivers do after they drop off their passengers? Park there until they get the next call? I don’t know, but my guess would be that they drive to an area where they know that have higher demand, or if they are already in such an area they keep driving around because there’s typically no convenient parking in such areas.

  • ohnonononono

    I don’t agree that they take cars off the road in Manhattan, which is what we’re talking about here. It’s not like a significant portion of the people taking Uber trips within Manhattan would have been driving their own private cars otherwise. If you talk to Uber drivers, a signficant portion of their customers are tourists and business travelers. People who live in the city are still just hailing yellow cabs in Manhattan most of the time, but out-of-towners are less familiar with hailing cabs (it’s something people can’t do in most of the country) yet they have the Uber app on their phone, beckoning to them. It’s also easy to expense.

    I think the “they take cars off the road” argument makes sense in the outer boroughs, where they are providing a service that’s much harder to come by otherwise. If you can sit in your apartment in Brooklyn or Queens and watch your phone to see how far away your driver is, this is just a huge convenience over calling a car service and hoping they show up, or haggling with a gypsy cab doing an illegal street hail. It definitely makes not owning a car easier, which should take cars off the road in the long run.

  • Driving in Manhattan really sucks. I would argue that only out-of-towners would take Uber in the transit-rich areas during peak hours, and these trips are purely replacing yellow cabs, so no net effect on traffic. Besides, it may still make sense to take Uber if your start or end point lies in one of the transit-poor parts of Manhattan, such as UES east of 2nd Ave, Hell’s Kitchen, or the E Village, or if your trip takes place at night when service is more spotty and roads are relatively empty.

  • People who live in the city, such as myself and many of my friends and relatives, are largely switching to Uber for a combination of lower cost, greater convenience, and greater driver accountability.

  • I think they usually double-park or park by a hydrant. Wouldn’t make sense to cruise with e-hail.

  • qrt145

    Well, if they double park then we have a problem… 🙂

  • J_12

    Uber mostly substitutes for other taxi services, not private car ownership. I think in many ways they offer a better product compared to traditional taxis and radio dispatch services, but anyone who would use Uber now in NYC could have used meter taxis or black cars previously, so I don’t see how they get anyone to give up car ownerhip at the margin.

  • Flakker

    Just deputize everyone already and get it over with. Imagine, a whole city of uniformed police! Crime will have nowhere to hide. We’ll be all types, from by-the-book to “plays by his/her own rules but gets results”. Obviously we can’t all carry guns as that would be dangerously irresponsible, but criminals will have a hard time figuring out who IS carrying. Plus we’ll all get handcuffs (sexy!) and cruisers to idle in all day if we so choose. No longer will idling at city expense, polluting city air, be a privilege reserved for a few! The best part is, we don’t even have to obey orders! Just publicly insult the mayor if he dares cross us, and demand that Albany raise our pay. Then, after 20 years, it’s off to Florida. We’ll still be young, and with fat pensions, thanks to the ever-willing New York taxpayer. Suck on that, Buffalo!