According to a couple of new reports over the last month, Uber and Lyft are creating more problems than they’re solving. The ride-hailing services are causing huge traffic problems and generating more pollution than the trips they replace.
Traffic has always been an issue in grid-locked cities, but Uber and Lyft are making things worse. According to Eliot Brown at the Wall Street Journal (non-paywall link at Axios):
Multiple studies show that Uber and Lyft have pulled people away from buses, subways and walking, and that the apps add to the overall amount of driving in the U.S.
About 40% of the time, there’s an empty Uber or Lyft car driving around in circles waiting for a fare, according to the Journal.
This excessive traffic is, unsurprisingly, not good for our air. Andrew J. Hawkins at The Verge is reporting on a study on the pollution caused by ride-hailing services:
Ride-hailing trips today result in an estimated 69 percent more climate pollution on average than the trips they displace. In cities, ride-hailing trips typically displace low-carbon trips, such as public transportation, biking, or walking. Uber and Lyft could reduce these emissions with a more concerted effort to electrify its fleet of vehicles or by incentivizing customers to take pooled rides, the group recommends.
Has Uber positively contributed to society in any way, shape, or form? They have made traffic worse, they pollute our air, and they’ve been directly responsible for at least one death, and that’s leaving out the pages of “criticisms” listed on the Wikipedia Uber page. Lyft, having not killed anyone (yet), is only marginally better. If anything needs government regulation, it’s these guys.