By Tim Hunt
Rideshare companies could be a solution to clogged city streetsUploaded: Jan 5, 2017
The desire of well-paid millennials to live in urban environments has sparked plenty of start-up companies to serve them.
San Francisco has become a magnet for them and the tech companies that are employing them. That has driven a construction explosion in both office space and apartments and condos.
The housing has not even remotely kept pace with demand so rental prices have soared. It costs more than $4,500 a month on average to rent a two-bedroom apartment—more if it is close to a stop for the Google, Facebook or other tech giant charter buses.
The urban population shift has opened opportunities for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. Owning a car in a city with ample public transportation, taxis and the rideshare services became more of a hassle than a necessity. Obviously, that’s not the case in the suburbs.
San Francisco transit officials have complained to the state Public Utilities Commission about the traffic caused by the rideshare services.
This week those complaints were cast in a different light when MIT released a study that showed the ridesharing services could reduce traffic in New York City by a stunning 75 percent. The key is the carpooling options that both services are now offering. That option is catching on with major employers who are utilizing apps to help employees ride together. Up to 20 percent of Uber users are choosing the carpool option.
The MIT study concluded that expansion of those services would take as many as 11,000 taxis out of the city and result in average waits of less than three minutes. The study was reported by both the East Bay Times and the San Francisco Business Times.
Given the price paid for taxi licenses, the political battle to move in that direction likely will be intense, but it’s a classic case of the disruption of existing markets by start-ups with a better idea. The car pool option also allow drivers to make more money or do it only around the work day to pick up lunch money plus.
What will be intriguing over the next 10 years is to see whether the millennials, as they settle down, marry and start a family, will want to continue to live in the urban environment or whether the suburbs with quality public schools will become a more desirable option.