Jan 4, 2017

MIT gives ride-sharing companies a big boost in their argument against taxis

MIT researchers have concluded that if ride-share vehicles replaced New York City taxis, 11,000 vehicles would be taken off the roads.

How they did it: The researchers used data from 3 million taxi rides to create an algorithm to simulate in real time conditions like wait times, vehicle capacities and travel delays. The study found that with services like UberPOOL and Lyft Line, 3,000 four-passenger cars could handle 98% of the capacity of 14,000 NYC cabs with an average wait time of 2.7 minutes.

Why it matters: Ride-share companies have fought against regulations in cities on the grounds that their services bring convenience and better service to the public. Now they can bolster their arguments by citing diminished congestion and environmental benefit.

The other side: The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade has argued that, considering the taxes and fees cabbies have to pay, taxis generate more revenue for New York City than Uber or Lyft.

Go deeper