Thursday, September 11, 2014

GeekWire coverage on UberPool and Lyft Line reducing travel time and pollution

Who would ever think new carpool services such as UberPool and Lyft Line could reduce pollution. GeekWire covered these carpool services in greater depth to demonstrate their role in controlling pollution and cutting travel time. It is all comes down to whether passengers want to wait a few extra minutes to get a ride. Shared rides, as SideCar calls them, is matching two or more riders together. These riders are connected based on their pickup locations and final destinations.

GeekWire noted that 170 million taxi trips are taken per year in New York City. That is a massive number of rides in one large city. Imagine the income these trips make thousands of taxi drivers. UberPool and Lyft Line are attempting to enter the carpooling market. It is a high demand sector of transportation, where millions of people need rides to one specific destination.

Pairing riders together can cut down on the number of vehicles flooding the road. Ridesharing services have already reduced vehicles on the road; however, carpooling is a much larger market that requires intervention. People may travel long and short distances, and prefer to save in making these trips.

In this coverage, GeekWire shared MIT News research on how shared rides can decrease travel time and reduce pollution. Passengers willing to share cabs or use carpooling services such as UberPool, Lyft Line and SideCar, can reduce the number of cars on the road and speed up service.

What we don't factor into this case is the money lost from sharing rides. How much of this money is redistributed? How much do city transportation services lose? Will cab drivers lose money by making less trips? If rideshared services become standard, the hope is that more people will choose to ride instead of drive their personal vehicles. However, the gas industry stands to lose money on gas.

Based on antisocial passengers refusing to engage in small talk, we are still on the fence looking into these carpool app services. How can these shared rides improve travel? The theory is that riders will pile into UberPool, Lyft Line and SideCar with complete strangers to travel more often. Sharing a ride can reduce the number of cars on the road, ultimately cutting down traffic congestion.

In contrast, the thrill in requesting a private UberX, Lyft and SideCar are too appealing. People enjoy saying this is my Uber or I want my Lyft ride. Carpooling is better utilized during commute hours. If these three carpool services catch fire, then Enterprise RideShare and other vanpool and carpool companies will lose out business. Unfortunately, ridesharing services may also reduce in demand because riders will look into cutting travel cost rather than spend additional money on private rides.

Whereas carpool services are viewed as pollution control and cost-cutting measures, riders will still continue to take UberX, Lyft and SideCar. UberPool, Lyft Line and SideCar are primarily morning and evening commute services. These riders choose to wait and take longer rides. For those riders who are in a hurry, carpool services are not a good option.

In an ideal world, we believe carpooling services can cut cost and reduce pollution. However, we don't operate in this fantasy, so research on cutting time of travel and reducing pollution is irrelevant. If 30 percent of NYC taxi trips are reduced, these taxi drivers will struggle to survive because it is obvious they'll be making less money. Traffic aside, less trips mean less earnings.

In a sharing economy, carpool app services make sense. People can learn to adopt shared rides into their daily travel. Too many people enjoy having their own ridesharing service car. Nevertheless, these people are usually traveling at times where carpooling services are in low demand. In our analysis, carpooling app services are best utilized during heavy commute hours - morning and evening. Any other time, ridesharing services will meet this ride demand.

Share a ride and see how it works for you. Have fun in UberPool, Lyft Line and Sidecar.

MIT News

Uber: Sign up as a first-time client for Uber and get $20 off first ride. Visit and download Uber app. Input promo code ts958u to get $20 off. Choose UberX on the bottom. If you live in San Francisco, select UberPool and take this carpool service for a ride. Have fun connecting with new riders!

SideCar: Download SideCar app at and input promo code qjbxk to reveive $15 off on first ride. Use SideCar's Shared Rides to carpool with other riders traveling in the same direction.

Share a ride today!