Recent studies indicate that approximately 77% of all commuter trips in the United States are single occupant vehicle trips. Single occupant vehicle trips result in many critical problems when it comes to traffic congestion – especially in urban areas. Traffic congestion can be expensive – we are talking hundreds of billions of dollars! In fact, traffic jams in the United States alone cost about $121 Billion and use up 3.9 Billion gallons of gas every year. Of course, this results in many ecological and health hazards. So, what can we do to minimize the extensive damage to the environment?
Well, it is not practical to turn our backs on vehicles as a means of transportation entirely. This is where app-based ride-hailing or ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft come in. These services allow people to book a ride from anywhere – so, in a way, it enables people to avoid buying a car, which results in a reduction in the overall number of vehicles on the road, meaning less traffic congestion. This way, Uber and Lyft also help progressively reduce car emissions.
However, just because ride-hailing services are a bit more environmentally and ecologically friendly and are an efficient means of personal transportation, does not mean that they make public transit any more efficient, right?
Ride-hailing and ride-sharing services have undoubtedly made structural changes to urban mobility by making it possible for its users to secure a more efficient mode of local transportation not only than personal car ownership but also public mass transit. Over the last couple of years, it is evident that Uber and Lyft have netted immense popularity within mobility groups – and for good reasons.
- Uber or Lyft users can hail a car from any location and have the car be at the site in no time. They do not have to run after a taxi or hope for one to pass by their location or stand in a queue at a bus stand waiting for the bus to arrive.
- Recent reports suggest that a good number of rideshare users are pairing Uber and Lyft rides with the use of public transit, if not on a regular basis yet, but the pairing seem to be increasing.
- Ride-hailing or ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft link the user’s credit card to their app account. This means that no payments have to be processed immediately and no cash changes hands. As soon as the stop arrives and the ride is brought to a halt, the driver gets paid through the app, and the passenger can just walk out of the car.
- A driver only finds out where the ride is going when the fare starts. This eradicates the problem of being refused access to a taxi when traveling to parts of a town where the driver is not willing to go.
The introduction of ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft will continue to improve in the effort to positively influence the environment while also making it possible for users to arrange private and public transportation from any location using smartphones, thereby enhancing both urban and rural mobility.