Ridesharing is half as expensive and twice as fast. So politicians want to steal it from us.
The study was paid for by Uber, so there will be plenty of denials. But the test looks valid to me:
The design could hardly have been simpler; we sent pairs of riders to call for taxi service or use an app to summon UberX for travel along pre-planned routes. The riders recorded how long it took – starting from the moment of picking up the phone or opening the app – before they were actually in a car and on their way, and also how much the ride cost, including a standard 15% tip for the taxi drivers and any premium charged under the Uber “surge pricing” system.
After each ride, the riders switched off; whoever took a taxi last time took an Uber next time. Our riders didn’t know that Uber had paid for the study.
The answer was clear-cut, and consistent across neighborhoods and days: summoning an UberX took less than half as long as calling for a taxi, and the trip cost less than half as much. UberX was also more reliable, with no very long wait times.
Even though Uber had no control over our data analysis or interpretation, the fact that Uber paid for the study makes some skepticism about our results natural and proper. We will happily share our data and methods with other research teams for re-analysis and replication.
So when we have limo-riding politicians and state governments attacking Uber and Lyft, we can be certain that they are attacking people. They are demanding that people wait twice as long and pay twice as much for a service.
This isn’t just an inconvenience. For some people, it means jail time. If you can’t afford insurance or the fines for some minor traffic infraction, you have to choose between keeping your job and breaking the law.
As technology is developed society is finding ways to meet real transportation needs with greater speed and lower cost. Politicians hate this and want to turn back to clock to a form of taxi service that they can control and plunder.