Reining in Ride Hailing Is Critical (8-14-18)

Traditional taxis vie for street space with ride-hailing vehicles from Uber and Lyft in New York City. Something has to give. Mary Altaffer/AP

City leaders need to reckon with the reality that sometimes shared ride services are not part of the answer to urban congestion, argues transportation researcher Bruce Schaller.

Last week, the New York City Council took a big step toward stemming the traffic-clogging proliferation of Uber and Lyft vehicles, temporarily halting issuance of new vehicle licenses as well as authorizing a wage floor for ride-hailing service drivers. The historic bills, which Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law on Tuesday, signal that these companies can no longer run roughshod over legislative bodies in pursuit of growth and eventual profits.

But there has been pushback to the idea, contained in both the legislation and in my recent report, “The New Automobility,” that Uber and Lyft’s impact on big-city traffic needs to be contained. Some of this resistance comes, not unexpectedly, from the companies themselves, which strongly object to the moratorium while also accepting the wage-related provisions.

Perhaps more notable was criticism from other quarters. In a recent CityLab post, for example, Zipcar co-founder Robin Chase wrote that focusing on ride service growth “sets us up for failure” because Uber, Lyft, taxis and the like “account for just 1.7 percent of miles traveled by urban dwellers, while travel by personal cars accounts for 86 percent.” She calls for making “all shared modes of transit better and more attractive than driving alone.”

Read Full Story Here (via City Lab)

10 Things To Do In The D.C. Area This Week (8-13-18)

This 2017 photo from top of the Ferris wheel provides fairgoers with a bird’s-eye view of the attractions of the Arlington County Fair’s midway. (Bettina Lanyi for The Washington Post)

Monday, Aug. 13

Metropolitan Restaurant Week at area restaurants: Late summer brings sweet corn, ripe tomatoes and Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, when eateries across the area serve up multicourse meals for a fixed price that’s easy on the wallet. This year, more than 250 restaurants in the city, Maryland and Virginia are participating in Summer Restaurant Week. That includes new spots you might not have tried yet, like José Andrés’s America Eats Tavern in Georgetown, the lively Mexican restaurant Mi Vida at the Wharf and the Israeli-themed Sababa in Cleveland Park. Peruse Restaurant Week menus online, and then book a table in advance for a summer dining deal. Through Sunday. $22 lunch and brunch, $35 dinner. 

Read Full Story Here (via The Washington Post)

Where Ride-Hailing and Transit Go Hand in Hand (8-3-18)

Partnerships between transit agencies and ride-hailing companies have boomed since 2016. Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development/DePaul University

Ever planned to take the bus, but wound up calling an Uber? That’s what the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority did in 2016.

That year, ridership across St. Petersburg, Florida’s fixed route bus lines plummeted by 11 percent—twice the drop PSTA experienced in the first year of the recession, and one of the deepest declines of any major U.S. system. Pinellas County constituents had recently rejected the concept of transit even more directly: PSTA’s one-cent “Greenlight Pinellas” sales tax proposal to spread bus service and build a light rail system bombed at the ballots in 2014.

Read Full Story Here (via City Lab)

Lyft Testing Subscription Model: App Offering Set Number Of Rides For Flat Monthly Price (7-29-18)

LYFT IS TESTING subscription models across the country, offering customers a package of rides for a flat, discounted fee. The packages promote Lyft loyalty and some bear a resemblance to transit passes. 

One customer in the Boston area received an email on July 23 inviting the recipient to try Lyft’s All-Access Plan, which offers 30 standard rides worth up to $15 apiece for a flat fee of $299 a month. The user pays any ride cost greater than $15. 

“Leave the car at home and save,” the Lyft email said. “We’re creating a new subscription plan to lock in 30 rides and you’ve been selected to test it first.” 

Read Full Story Here (via CommonWealth)

It’s Too Soon to Regulate Self-Driving Cars, Says U.S. Safety Official

 

It’s premature to regulate the self-driving vehicles being tested by companies such as General Motors Co. and Waymo LLC, the U.S. government’s top auto safety official said.

“At this point the technology is so nascent I don’t think it is appropriate today to regulate this technology,” Heidi King, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said in an interview. “It’s not there yet, but each and every day we are open to identifying when the time is right.”