All the Bad Things About Uber and Lyft In One Simple List

Photo: Oran Viriyincy/Flickr
Photo: Oran Viriyincy/Flickr

Here’s the latest evidence that Uber and Lyft are destroying our world: Students at the University of California Los Angeles are taking an astonishing 11,000 app-based taxi trips every week that begin and end within the boundaries of the campus.

The report in the Daily Bruin revealed anew that Uber, Lyft, Via and the like are massively increasing car trips in many of the most walkable and transit friendly places in U.S.

It comes after a raft of recent studies have found negative effects from Uber and Lyft, such as increased congestion, higher traffic fatalities, huge declines in transit ridership and other negative impacts. It’s becoming more and more clear that Uber and Lyft having some pretty pernicious effects on public health and the environment, especially in some of the country’s largest cities.

We decided to compile it all into a comprehensive list, and well, you judge for yourself. Here we go:

They increase driving — a lot

The U.C.L.A. trips are an example of what is happening at a much wider scale: A lot more driving.

Uber and Lyft, for example, are providing 90,000 rides a day in Seattle now. That’s more than are carried daily by the city’s light rail system, the Seattle Times reports.

One study estimated that in cities with the highest Uber and Lyft adoption rates, driving has increased about 3 percent compared to the cities with the lowest. That’s an enormous amount of miles.

And transportation consultant Bruce Schaller estimates that the app-based taxis have added 5.7 billion driving miles in the nine major cities they primarily operate. (For comparison, in their first year of deployment across the U.S., e-scooters operated by private tech firms carried between 60-80 million trips.)

By the end of this year, Schaller has estimated all taxi ridership will surpass the number of trips made on buses the U.S.

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The promise of companies such as Uber and Lyft was that they would “free” city dwellers to sell their cars or not acquire them in the first place. And car ownership has declined among higher wage earners.

But a University of Chicago study found the presence of Uber and Lyft in cities actually increases new vehicle registrations. That’s because the companies encourage lower-income people to purchase cars, even advertising in some markets how people should put that new car to use — as an Uber.

They spend half their time ‘deadheading’

For every mile a Uber or Lyft car drives with a passenger, it cruises as many miles — if not more — without a passenger, a practice known in the industry as “deadheading.” Estimates of total deadheading time vary from 30 percent to as much as 60 percent.

Uber and Lyft’s policies make this worse by encouraging drivers to constantly circle to reduce wait times for users, according to John Barrios, the researcher at the University of Chicago, who has studied Uber and Lyft.

They operate in transit-friendly areas

Transit systems around the nation are losing riders to Uber and Lyft, which suggests that the companies are merely showing the need to beef up transit service across the country.

But if you drill down, something else is at work because Uber and Lyft primarily operate in areas that are best served by transit. For example in Seattle, about half the rides taken in Uber and Lyft originate in just four neighborhoods: downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union and Capitol Hill, according to David Gutman at the Seattle Times. These are some of the city’s most walkable and transit-friendly areas.

Graph: Bruce Shaller
Graph: Bruce Shaller

Moreover, according to Schaller, about 70 percent of Uber and Lyft trips take place in just nine American cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, traditional taxi service, Schaller estimates, still serves more total trips in suburban and rural areas than the Ubers and Lyfts.

Why would Uber and Lyft use be so high in dense, transit-rich areas? Studies aren’t conclusive, but on average, Uber and Lyft riders, not surprisingly, skew rich and skew young.

In the top nine cities for Uber and Lyft people with incomes above $200,000 are by far the most likely to use the service. Lower-income people without cars in some less urban markets do use Uber and Lyft, but their use is dwarfed by those with high incomes, Schaller finds.

They mostly replace biking, walking or transit trips

In an ideal world, Uber and Lyft would be making good on their promise to reduce private car ownership because city dwellers would feel more comfortable selling their cars, thanks to the presence of Uber and Lyft.

But the data shows that Uber and Lyft mostly “free” people from walking and transit.

A survey of 944 Uber and Lyft riders by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston last year, found that 42 percent of riders would have taken transit if the services hadn’t been available. Another 12 percent (like those U.C.L.A students and their 11,000 on-campus taxi rides per week) said they would have biked or walked their journey. Another 5 percent would have just avoided the trip altogether.

Only about 17 percent — less than one in five — said they would have made the journey in a private car otherwise. (The remainder said they would have used a traditional taxi.)

Uber and Lyft just aren’t competitive price-wise with private car ownership, Schaller said, except in areas with expensive parking. Even with Uberpool and other shared services — which account for a small share of total business, Schaller says — Uber and Lyft increase car miles on urban streets. For each mile of driving removed, they add about 2.6 miles, he estimates.

They hurt transit 

Uber and Lyft are just crushing transit service in the U.S. A recent study estimated, for example, they had reduced bus ridership in San Francisco, for example, 12 percent since 2010 — or about 1.7 percent annually. And each year the services are offered, the effect grows, researcher Gregory Erhardt found.

Every person lured from a bus or a train into a Lyft or Uber adds congestion to the streets and emissions to the air. Even in cities that have made tremendous investments in transit — like Seattle which is investing another $50 billion in light rail — Uber and Lyft ridership recently surpassed light rail ridership.

Transit agencies simply cannot complete with private chauffeur service which is subsidized at below real costs by venture capitalists. And maybe that’s the point.

Erhardt, for example, estimated that San Francisco would have had to increase transit service 25 percent overall just to neutralize the effect of Uber and Lyft.

Worse is the tale of two cities effect: Relatively well off people in Ubers congesting the streets of Manhattan and San Francisco slow down buses full of relatively low-income people. By giving people who can afford it escape from the subway, Uber and Lyft also reduce social interaction between people of different classes and lead to a more stratified society.

They reduce political support for transit

As an added kick in the shins, Uber and Lyft degrade political support for transit. If relatively well-to-do people can hop in an Uber or a Lyft every time the bus or train is late, the political imperative to address the problem is reduced. The wealthier people substituting Uber and Lyft for transit trips have disproportionate political influence.

Cities are already capitulating. Last week, Denver partnered with Uber in a last-ditch effort to win back some riders who had jumped to the app.

In addition, right-wing ideologues have argued that Uber and Lyft make transit investment unnecessary.

They increase traffic fatalities

The University of Chicago study mentioned earlier estimated that Uber and Lyft increased traffic fatalities last year by an astonishing 1,100 — an enormous human toll. The study also found, surprisingly, that Uber and Lyft have no effect on drunk driving.

In addition, Uber and Lyft require basically no safety training for their drivers at all. In fact, the presence of these companies has motivated cities like Toronto to eliminate safety training requirements the city previous required for taxi drivers, in order to ostensibly level the playing field.

They hoard their data

One qualification with this list: Much of the information we have about Lyft and Uber is imperfect. The two companies make it difficult to study the social impacts of their activities because they jealously guard their data.

Last year, when Barrios released a study showing a lot of negative impacts from Uber and Lyft, Lyft corporate attacked the study calling it “deeply flawed.”

But Barrios had to use Google search numbers to estimate Uber and Lyft penetration in certain markets because even academic researchers don’t have access to Uber and Lyft’s raw trip data. If Uber and Lyft are honest in their denials, releasing their data could help disprove it. But so far, they have mostly refused.

Oh, and one more thing…

These are just the transportation related drawbacks. To say nothing of these companies treatment of their employees, or the behavior of their top management or their huge financial losses.

464 thoughts on All the Bad Things About Uber and Lyft In One Simple List

  1. Most people thought telephone communication was not going to be abandoned due to cellular technology too, with similar arguments. Now some municipalities are going to court for not maintaining emergency communication using the abandoned infrastructure. I dont see how Lyft or uber are any different from taxis.

  2. So, switching attention between two apps instead of one. Or probably three, for the Uber/Lyft drivers.

  3. Despite lots and lots of hype about how it may reduce DUIs, that has not been indicated in research. The cops you’re talking to are falling for marketing.

  4. We’ve all seen the hype about eliminating a parking spot. And the lack of hype about the resultant deadheading, which is worse.

  5. That “____ derangement syndrome” coinage was originated as a ploy to stop criticism of George W. Bush and his oil wars, Patriot Act, etc. etc. It has of course been used on just about anything ever since, but by applying it to Uber you bring it back home to the oil industry.

  6. The bike lanes in San Francisco are full of Ubers/Lyfts. Now they are putting in concrete barriers around a few bike lanes, and the Ubers/Lyfts pull over to block their entrances and exits.

  7. Depends where. Streets in my city (Milwaukee) have tons of excess capacity 23.5 hours per day, while virtually any business without copious parking was considered doomed. No more.

  8. “In reality” is not a cited source.

    No, but “in reality” you can Google that shit for yourself. I’m not your secretary. (And it ain’t exactly secret info.)

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter if it’s unrepresentative when that’s the part of the business bringing in most of the money.

    You’re aware of the difference between “revenue” and “profit,” right? NYC bringing in the largest amount of revenue of any US city is irrelevant if it’s impossible for them to make a profit there. When the venture capital dries up, they’ll focus on places where they can make money, and there’s no reason to assume NYC will be one of them.

    if they’re still in existence, they will focus on the cities where they interfere with transit the most.

    I realize you “hate Uber,” but logically speaking, it makes the most sense for ride-hail companies to operate in locales where the current transit grid (namely public transit and taxis) is most subpar – but where the market is most ripe for intervention. This is why college towns/cities like Austin and Madison have some of the highest per-capita ride-hail use.

    Btw Uber is not a Bond villain, and it makes zero sense that they’d want to “implode the global public transit world” or whatever — which wouldn’t be even vaguely possible even if they wanted to do so. (It should be stating the obvious that they’ll have no choice but to increase prices once that sweet VC money dries up, which will presumably, um, drive quite a bit of its user base back to relying primarily on rail service and buses.)

  9. Then, as the article we are all basing our comments on states, why are there more people now using Uber and Lyft in Seattle than ALL those riding Seattle’s transit system? To me, this signals that, when given the opportunity, people will flock to individual auto transportation when it is made available to them in an easily accessible way (via a Smartphone APP). Transit seems so second-rate to these riders, by comparison – so no wonder they’re “FLOCKING” (to use bird terminology) to ride-share.

  10. Now some municipalities are going to court for not maintaining emergency communication using the abandoned infrastructure.

    Source? I haven’t heard this particular news.

    I dont see how Lyft or uber are any different from taxis.

    It boils down to degrees of regulation. Taxis, like telephone service – both landlines and mobile phones – are a heavily regulated quasi-utility (and I say “quasi” only because they’re private-sector companies). And they receive exclusive benefits from municipalities in exchange for that regulation, e.g. the ability to accept street hails and use dedicated taxi stands. Uber & Lyft aren’t viewed as such presently – though that’s not to say they might not eventually be – and are forbidden from most of the taxi industry’s exclusive “turf.”

  11. Then, as the article we are all basing our comments on states, why are there more people now using Uber and Lyft in Seattle than ALL those riding Seattle’s transit system?

    For one thing, it’s still quite small, particularly with respect to rail. While Seattle voters just approved a massive $54 billion transit bond a couple of years ago — to be spread out over 25 years — it still has quite a long ways to go in terms of building it out, and plenty of parts of the city remain underserved by public transit. This is in part because its build-out didn’t begin in earnest until about 15 years ago (in stark contrast with Portland to its south, which has by far the best public transit system in America).

    Also, you appear to be skipping over the fact that 95.5% of all road travel in Seattle still takes place in personal automobiles, not via Uber/Lyft. THAT is the biggest problem area needing to be addressed.

  12. I’m not advocating this trend, nor the cooked planet that might well result from it – far from it! This trend is ADVOCATING ITSELF with no help whatsoever from the likes of you and me. That’s the message I’m getting from reading this article – the shift to ride share seems to me to be unstoppable.

  13. Thank you – that is interesting to know, and a point the writer of the article failed to include. Now, of course, there are those new measures being introduced to the Washington State Legislature that would gut the funding derived from auto ownership fees dedicated to funding transit improvements. The Road Lobby in this country is hard to overcome, even after voters approved these auto-based levies TO improve public transit!

  14. The money should go to whichever service the consumer selects. The use of the verb “siphon” implies that money has been illegitimately diverted from public transit to Uber. The money belongs to the consumer and he is free to spend it as he desires.

  15. This is also true in some areas of Chicago. I live in a perfectly safe neighborhood that happens to be off the beaten path from denser neighborhoods that are well served by cabs.

  16. Actually I live in one of the safest areas in SF. Cabbies liked the busier areas so the can get quick fares.

  17. Hey, I’m a dedicated pubtrans user…but what the hell, if you can get picked u p and dropped off door to door, jeebus, isn’t it obvious why people do this?

  18. There are huge personal penalities for using public transportation. Time being the major and provable one. A commute in the Bay Area which would take 24 minutes in your own car would take 1.25 hours in a bus, not counting the time to walk between bus stops that were so poorly set up so that the lines don’t connect to BART.
    Then there is the dirt, filth really, and the chance to get robbed, or sexually harrassed, or assaulted, or even shot by a Bart cop when at a station (I have never seen a Bart cop actually on a train has anyone?).

  19. Rail is faster? Where? Everywhere I have ever been in the US it is significantly slower than driving.
    Take Bart in The Bay Area for instance. A 30 minute commute by car is a hour to an hour and a half by light rail. Add in the fact that the busses don’t actually stop at the Bart station in a lot of cases, and it’s evenonger to actually get where you are going.
    Also it was actually cheaper to own a car and drive than it was to take BaRT, (unless you have to pay to park).
    Here’s a radical idea…..
    Let’s figure out how to make public transportation something people WANT to take instead of forcing them to take a filthy, crime ridden mess that we currently have!

  20. The problem is one of geometry. There isn’t the room on the streets for everyone in dense cities to travel by car. Indeed, in Manhattan you’ll get gridlock if more than about 10% try. Like it or not, buses, and especially subways, are the only way to move large numbers of people in cities. They’re not going anywhere. I don’t doubt there will be a transition period where mass transit systems are forced to do things a lot more efficient, but the same things benefit ride share, like autonomous vehicles, will also benefit mass transit. The primary deterrent to adding more bus service isn’t the cost of more buses. It’s the cost of the labor to run them. Get that out of the equation and you can have more frequent bus service. Have exclusive transit lanes and overall taking the bus can often be as fast as ride share.

    And the stuff about unsavory people is mostly nonsense. The more people who ride transit, the easier it is to keep the few unsavory people in line.

  21. They must also be pretty well off to afford to take ride share just to go what are long, but feasible, walking distances.

  22. You’re talking about far different levels of investment. The phone wires are basically just that, wires. While I have no idea of how much money is invested, I’d say it’s easily two orders of magnitude less than what some cities have invested in mass transit. The NYC subway has 245 route miles and 850 track miles, 472 stations, and lots of yards. The replacement cost at today’s prices is easily in the hundreds of billions. Nobody is just going to abandon infrastructure like that. Moreover, there’s no scenario where ride share can do what the subway does. Even if you avoid the need for parking, you couldn’t fit the number of vehicles needed to transport all those people on the streets. If you even tried, it would make walking or cycling impossible.

  23. Have you ever been to the Northeast? Yes, especially if Manhattan is the origin or destination, rail is often a lot faster than driving. On average it takes 45 minutes by local bus and subway to go from where I live in Eastern Queens to midtown. I’ve made it in 30 minutes once in a blue moon when everything ran perfect. Unless you’re talking 3 AM, it easily takes an hour to make the same trip by car, not including finding parking.

    Or let’s take another trip I used to make years ago when I commuted to Princeton. Average trip time by local bus/subway/commuter rail was 2 hours each way to travel 70 miles. I made it in an hour, 50 minutes sometimes. When I made the trip by car with my father, best case we made it in two hours but if the trip was done during the times I used to commute, it easily would have taken over three.

    This isn’t even getting into the fact driving is a lot more expensive.

    Sure, we can and absolutely should improve public transit, but in many places it’s already a viable alternative to driving. Remember driving has a steep price of entry. You need to own a car (I certainly can’t afford one), you need a driver’s license, and you need to be able to physically drive. I never got a license but it’s moot now as I couldn’t drive any length of time due to severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Driving is something that can work for some people, but it’s not an answer for the masses.

  24. Maybe where you use public transportation there isn’t human excrement on the seats, or running downd the isles. Maybe you haven’t heard stories of sexual assult from all of your female friends as the reason they will never take public transit again. Maybe armed thieves haven’t boarded the train and removed the valuables of everyone on the train? When you tell all the rest of us how great public transportationt is maybe the trains on the east coast are clean well run, cheap, and safe. However I doubt it. I suspect they are the same poorly functioning public mess run by territorial bureaucrats as everywhere else in this country.
    How are you getting to the rail transit center? That counts in the time too, not just the time you are on the train.
    Remember that car ride was door to door. Not train station to train station.
    Let’s not even go into the noise of the trains out here on the west coast. When the last transportation strike happened the management driving the train for training to try and break the union ran over and killed the only two people that had any hope of bringing the nose down to OSHA allowable levels while wearing ear protection!
    My critisim still stands instead of forcing people into taking public transportation what can we do to make them want to take it.
    That bar seems pretty well met for you, but obouviously isn’t met for most people who would rather spend more to take an alternate method. Also you may be comparing the best system in the US against the very poor and horrible systems in the rest of the country.

  25. Actually you’re incorrect.

    Los Angeles does owe it existence to the innovation of the railroad and the treaty of Cahuenga signed by Mexico and the U.S. at Campo de Cahuenga.

    There were street cars on rail but LA city planning and rail gave way to the corruption at LA City Hall funded by the automobile industry.

    I know where the tunnels entrances are to the abandoned and forgotten labyrinth underneath Los Angeles that time and bootleggers have forgotten. These tunnels were the intended subway and monorail systems that were never fully built because of the automobile. They’re buried.

    Maybe you should check your LA history before you check a LA native. Rail and street cars jumped started Los Angeles but did not have the significant and lasting influence on the sprawling network of streets that we know Los Angeles for. Los Angeles was the pioneer in automotive centric retailing.

    And I bet you don’t know where California started.

  26. So the solution to undesirable options for public transportation is to force people to take it?
    It seems that all pro-public transportation people want to force their neighbors into their choice. Most seem to want to force all of us to bicycle (which is much more dangerous than riding in your own car). Or force everyone by whatever method they can to ride on a horrid filthy, poorly functioning transit system which in every case was never meant to haul the number of people it currently does let alone all of us you want to force on it.
    A better idea might be to try and make the transit system function in a way that people want to take it.
    In the areas that I have been, through some personal catastrophe, forced to take public transportation, it has never felt safe of comfortable. Start there make it safe and comfortable for all riders, not just the homeless and the mentally ill as a place to get out of the rain.
    The idea that if we all ride it it will get better is a falicy. Better pay for the management and the drivers does not equate to a better experience for the rider.

  27. Great, I too am very liberal and hugely enviromentally conscious.
    Currently the pro public transportation argument is to force people into our horrible public transportation system.
    I have yet to ride on a clean bus in the United States. Public transportation is just that public, which means everyone has to deal with the pan handlers, thieves, homeless living in the seats, human excrement on the seats and in the isles, and a total lack of meaningful security.
    Clean up public transportation and make it go where people want to go, faster than they could get there in their own car and people would take it, even if it cost more!!!
    Now people are driving their own cars or taking Uber lift because they percieve it is safer, more comfortable, and one hell of a lot easier. In addition to amazingly actually being cheaper in most cases!!

  28. I’m giving you door-to-door travel times, including the walk to the local bus stop.

    I’ve occasionally seen stuff on public transit, but it’s not a daily occurrence. Cars aren’t exactly clean all the time, either. Once someone offered me a ride. Their car smelled like a combination of stale food and dirty diapers. I told them I’ll pass.

    No, none of my female friends reported sexual assault. Unless you’re riding late nights, that’s typically not a major issue. With everyone having cameras to catch the perp in the act, it’s a lot less common than it may have been.

    Also, looking at travel time doesn’t tell the entire story. If I drive, that time is completely wasted. If I take public transit, I can study, read, sleep, etc. A public transit trip may be longer than a car trip, but factor in any time you can be productive.

    Let’s not even go into the noise of the trains out here on the west coast.

    Diesel trains? Why don’t bring your rail network into the mid 20th century and electrify? Other than mostly branch lines, everything heavily used here on the East Coast has been electrified for decades.

    If governments refuse to invest in public transit, they can’t expect it to be useful. If we invested in cars like we do in rail transit we would still be driving Model Ts on dirt roads.

  29. Nope they are electric trains, just really bad track geometry or something. Like I said they ran over and killed the two people that could and we’re trying to fix it.
    You may be in the place that has the best system in the US. Washington DC isn’t it, San Fransisco and Bart sucks, and for most of the country there isn’t any rail at all.
    Maybe if we spent as much on public transportation as we have spent of freeways we would have a better system, but graft and corruption get in there too.
    I just wanted to point out that your experience is atypical, and that thing to force people into taking public transit doesn’t sound good to any of the rest of us.
    As for having it be productive time, I don’t find that possible I have never been on a public transportation that allowed me that level of feeling safe.

  30. The unsavory people is the reality. Those with more social economic power will always chose not to take public transportation, because of the perception, correctly of the filth and unsavory element.
    Fix the filth and unsavory problem and you are half way there. Then fix the poor routing of buses based not on ridership but on politics and you have another 25 percent, the final 25 percent is make it so it doesn’t take 2-4x longer to get anywhere on public transit.

  31. Maybe the drop is not because it became harder to bicycle, but because it became cheaper to get a ride.
    Bicyclists think that everyone wants to bicycle, maybe the truth is that most people don’t. Maybe a few of us figured out that it is the least safe method of transit there is, and is likely to kill you. The reality is that bike riding is inherently dangerous even without the cars.
    (I know that is all the cars fault and if we just got rid of the cars everyone would be forced to bicycle and would instantly love arriving at work soaking wet either with sweat or rain.)

  32. Define work? Move people around to “almost” where they want to go? Move people as slowely as they will put up with?
    I don’t think there is a metric other than claiming at peak rush hour transit is more environmental. (Off peak anything is more environmental than a 50 passenger bus cruising around empty or nearly so). Where public transportation is defined as working.

  33. It seems to be a vicious circle in US cities. People don’t take transit because it’s not convenient (too far away, too infrequent, etc.) and when they do try it, those factors plus the poor state of the system (as you described) discourages them enough so that they don’t return.

    Yet, there’s Seattle’s Viadoom/Carmageddon – which wasn’t. People were warned about something that might significantly affect their commutes, made their adjustments, and there wasn’t much – if any – change in the usual traffic congestion.

    I want to know if transit use went up during the Alaskan Way viaduct closure before the tunnel was opened. And I want to see what the transit ridership numbers are a year after the tunnel’s opening. If they are elevated and remain elevated, is it the prospect of a shock to normal patterns that induce many people to make a change in their commuting patterns?

    Maybe – at least that’s what seems to have happened in my town (Vancouver BC). In February 2010 people were warned, ‘don’t drive downtown, the traffic will be horrible (because of the reservation of one traffic lane on major arterials for Olympics accredited vehicles – reducing capacity on those roads by one third). And, because bridges are choke points in metro Vancouver’s traffic flows – that reduced capacity by one third on pretty much all area commuter routes.

    Transit usage jumped significantly during the Olympics, continued at the elevated level afterwards, and increased at above previous rates of increase. Vancouver factors: new rapid transit line (Canada Line, constructed for and brought into service shortly before the Olympics), and a transit system that, in its served areas, had frequent service with clean and well maintained vehicles.

    Other factors? I could go into a long exposition about Canadian societal attitudes compared to American societal attitudes. I don’t want to. (Do your own research. )

    People want their transportation mode to be convenient, pleasant, and relatively time efficient. If a commute by transit is 30 minutes longer one way, that’s a big incentive for the commuters on that route to find another way to commute (usually an owned vehicle) if they can afford it.

    It’s the commute time that’s most important – that’s my belief and I’m sticking to it. 😛

  34. Exact you hit all the points, clean, safe, fast, it was a better way to get there theytt ried it then they stayed!

    It isn’t car love that drives people.into their cars, it is the commute time, then cleanliness, and safety.

    Build something that people want and they will come to use it. Force them to use something and they will never like it, especially if the argument is that if we just force people to take public transit then public transit will get better.

  35. One big difference between Lyft/Uber – and taxis – is that the former don’t have to pay a ransom’s fortune for a taxi medallion, which all the taxis I see in the Chicago Area are required to have, in order to be licensed to operate. OTOH, all you need to be an Uber/Lyft driver is own your own car and have clean driving and law records.

  36. Sure, transit in the US needs a lot of fixing but honestly, your posts read like a caricature of public transit. Nobody has as consistently bad experiences as you’re describing. Sure, I’ve seen my share of homeless and mentally ill, been subject to long delays, etc. but this is the exception, not the rule. Any system that had the conditions you describe all the time would have long ago lost all its passengers.

    You’re also acting like driving never has any delays. In California especially the traffic jams are notorious. Comparing best-case driving times to worst-case transit times is dishonest at best. Once when we were bringing a cat to the vet by car in Manhattan it took us two hours to go around the block. Let that sink in. Two hours to go about 2200 feet. I’ve never seen anything close to that bad on public transit.

    Crime can happen anywhere. Yes, some of it happens in transit systems but usually not a disproportionate amount. If you want to reduce crime, next time there’s a proposition to increase the number of patrol cars, vote yes.

    Finally, what you call the unsavory people and filth isn’t the problem of the transit agency. They’re not a social service provider. If we don’t have affordable housing, don’t have jobs, close mental health facilities, etc. of course there’s going to be a population of the disenfranchised. Some of them will seek shelter on trains or buses. Others will hang out in parks or under overpasses. It’s up to the government and local charities to address these problems. Europe and Asia don’t have this public transit problem precisely because either family members or government programs take care of disenfranchised people.

  37. Vegas does have a slow and often dangerous public bus system. The only reason people use it is because there is no other option. The free market will dictate what is the best and the worst, in the case of Vegas Uber and Lyft are the best choice. So good in fact the hotels and the airport have taken to undermining the service in hopes of diverting passengers into more lucrative and inefficient forms of transport.

  38. There is a very simple solution to the problem of decreasing ridership, public transportation has to become more effective, efficient and user friendly.

  39. Sorry, you are quite right, Uber are trying to get publically listed and are releasing their books to further that aspiration.

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